The latest business Intelligence for HR professionals and people managers everywhere
Sign UpOnline Version
Middle East Edition
17th March 2023
Microsoft adds OpenAI technology to Word and Excel
Microsoft says it is bringing generative artificial intelligence technologies such as the ChatGPT chat assistant to its Microsoft 365 suite of business software. The company said the new AI features, dubbed Copilot, will be available in some of its most popular business apps including Word, PowerPoint and Excel. In February, Microsoft debuted a new version of its Bing search engine that included a chatbot powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 language technology. OpenAI publicly revealed its GPT-4 software earlier this week and pitched it as being more capable than the GPT-3 technology. “Today marks the next major step in the evolution of how we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work and unlock a new wave of productivity growth,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, adding “With our new copilot for work, we’re giving people more agency and making technology more accessible through the most universal interface — natural language.”
Bank of Israel chief warns on risks from legal plans
Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron say the government's proposed legal overhaul could harm judicial independence and precipitate a dangerous brain drain. “The changes in the judicial reform could weaken some of this independence” of the legal system, Yaron said in an interview with CNN. “Moreover, the process itself is a hasty one and does not have a wide agreement in the public.” He added: “The independence of the governor, the independence of the central bank, are critical to the economy . . . Any country that has tinkered, let alone weakened, the independence of the central bank has suffered dire economic consequences. I believe all our leaders and decision-makers ultimately understand this and therefore would not come close to touching the independence of the bank.”
Ten Saudi judges are charged with treason for being ‘too lenient’
A Washington Post editorial considers the case of ten Saudi judges, six of them former prominent Specialized Criminal Court judges, and four former judges of the kingdom’s High Court, who stand accused of treason, punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Their “crime” is they weren’t harsh enough in handing out prison sentences. The judges’ case has been leaked by sources to the group Democracy for the Arab World Now, or DAWN.
Lebanon’s central bank chief in court to face money-laundering allegations
Lebanon’s central bank governor, Riad Salameh, has appeared before a delegation of European investigators in a Beirut court to face questions about allegations of money-laundering and embezzlement of public funds.
Job applicants are using ChatGPT to boost their hiring chances
Job applicants are using ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chat assistant from OpenAI, when looking for new roles, using it to help write cover letters, finesse résumés and formulate answers to expected interview questions. Employers - who the Wall Street Journal observes have long used AI to screen hires - aren’t always disqualifying applicants who use ChatGPT, but they want to figure out how to assess candidates who may be using the tool to give them an advantage. Sarah Baker Andrus, chief executive of Avarah Careers, a career coaching firm in Delaware, cautions job applicants who use ChatGPT that they need to combine the tool’s edits with their own editing and voice. Whatever a candidate submits for a job should accurately reflect their skills, she says. “We’re responsible for how we present ourselves . . . If you decide to use ChatGPT, it’s worthwhile to ask, ‘Is that representing the me that I want to present?’”
Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority launches online recruitment platform
In alignment with Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority’s mandate to protect and preserve public funds and resources, ADAA has launched an online recruitment platform to attract individuals to fulfill its mission and objectives. An ADAA spokesperson said: “Job seekers can access full descriptions of vacancies before applying to save time and effort, follow-up on the status of their applications, and receive notifications about their application status, dates of interviews, and tests to be completed by all candidates. It also enables applicants or candidates to communicate directly with recruitment officers.”
One in three would quit over end of WFH
Research from LinkedIn suggests that more than a third of UK employees would resign if they were told to return to the office full-time. The study shows that while nearly two thirds of workers are considering a job change in 2023, a fifth of these would stay in their current role if they were able to continue to work remotely or with greater flexibility. In a generational divide in attitudes toward working practices, Generation Z are the least likely to apply for remote roles, while Generation X are the most likely to prefer working remotely. Ngaire Moyes, LinkedIn’s UK country manager, says businesses could struggle to attract and retain staff if they remove flexible working policies, observing: “The pandemic saw a revolution in how people work, and for the majority of businesses, the great experiment in remote working was more successful than anyone ever expected.” Highlighting that flexibility “brings all sorts of benefits,” she said this means it is “crucial for employers to consider this when it comes to attracting top talent.” Office for National Statistics data shows that 44% of workers in the UK worked from home at least once a week between September 2022 and January 2023. This is down from a peak of 49% in 2020.
Swiss banks oppose idea of forced merger
UBS and Credit Suisse are opposed to a forced merger, Bloomberg has reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. UBS prefers to focus on its own wealth-centric strategy and is reluctant to take on risks related to Credit Suisse, the report said, as the smaller rival seeks additional time to complete its restructuring efforts after receiving financial support from the Swiss central bank. Wall Street bank JPMorgan on Wednesday said that Credit Suisse's takeover by another lender, probably UBS, was the most likely scenario for the beleaguered bank.
Trafigura’s head of metals operations to leave
Svetlana Kabanova, trading house Trafigura’s head of metals operations, is leaving the company as part of a global restructuring of its logistics team. The shakeup is just the latest at the metal trader since it was embroiled in a massive alleged nickel fraud. Trafigura’s metals team has been under pressure since it was revealed that it was facing losses of $577m after finding that metal cargoes it bought didn’t contain the nickel they were supposed to. Trafigura has said it doesn’t believe that any of its employees were complicit in what it called a “systematic fraud.”
Google workers in Switzerland stage walkout
Hundreds of Google staff members at the company's office in Zurich, Switzerland, walked off the job on Wednesday after more than 200 workers were laid off. In January, Google's parent company Alphabet announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs around the world, equivalent to 6% of its global workforce. A representative for IT workers' union Syndicom said more than 2,000 employees had offered to reduce their wages and working hours in a bid to prevent job losses. Google apparently rejected this proposal. "Our members at Google Zurich and all employees joining the walkout are showing solidarity with those laid off," a Syndicom spokesperson said, adding "They are bothered by the non-transparent nature of the layoffs, and are especially disappointed that Google is laying off workers at a time when the company is making billions in profit every year." A Google spokesperson said the company had made cuts to ensure the number of roles remained aligned with its highest priorities. "The consultation process has now concluded in Switzerland and employees whose roles were impacted have been notified,” the spokesperson said.
Protests as French government pushes through higher retirement age
Police in Paris have clashed with protesters after the French government decided to force through pension reforms without a vote in parliament. Crowds converged on Place de la Concorde in response to a raise in the retirement age from 62 to 64. Unions vowed to maintain their opposition to the pension changes. The Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) said another day of strikes and demonstrations is being planned for Thursday 23rd March. “By resorting to [constitutional article] 49.3, the government demonstrates that it does not have a majority to approve the two-year postponement of the legal retirement age,” tweeted Laurent Berger, head of the CFDT, one of the unions leading the protests.
Tesla wins bid for more details on probe of race bias claims
California’s Civil Rights Department, which is suing Tesla over alleged widespread race discrimination at the company's flagship assembly plant in Fremont, California must detail the investigation it conducted prior to filing the lawsuit, California Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo in Oakland has ruled. The judge's tentative ruling could give the electric carmaker an opportunity to narrow the lawsuit filed last year by the state’s civil rights agency. California law requires the department to investigate discrimination complaints by workers before suing employers. If the agency did not investigate certain claims against Tesla before suing, the carmaker could seek to have them removed from the case.
India allows foreign law firms to set up offices
The Bar Council of India in new rules has said foreign lawyers and law firms can also advise on international arbitration cases on a reciprocal basis, meaning lawyers from only those countries which allow similar opportunities to Indian lawyers can practice in India. Foreign lawyers, however, will only be allowed to advise on foreign or international laws and not be permitted to appear before any Indian courts, tribunals or regulatory authorities, the rules stated. "They shall be allowed to practice on transactional work/corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters . . . on (a) reciprocal basis," the rules stated. The new rules mean global law firms such as Latham & Watkins, DLA Piper, and Baker McKenzie can set up offices in India.

The Human Times is designed to help you stay ahead, spark ideas and support innovation, learning and development in your organisation.

The links under articles indicate original news sources. Some links lead directly to the source material. Others lead to paywalls where you may need a subscription. A third category are restricted by copyright rules.

For reaction and insights on any stories covered in the Human Times, join the discussion by becoming a member of our LinkedIn Group or Business Page, or follow us on Twitter.

This e-mail has been sent to [[EMAIL_TO]]

Click here to unsubscribe