Prof David De Cremer in global list of 30 thinkers to watch
NUS Business Professor David De Cremer, Provost’s Chair and Professor of Management and Organisation, has been selected by London-based organisation Thinkers50 as one of 30 global management thinkers to watch in 2021. Prof De Cremer is the only representative from a Singapore university and the first from NUS to be in this global annual ranking, which The Financial Times has dubbed the “Oscars of Management Thinking”. Prof De Cremer is the founder and director of the Centre on AI Technology for Humankind (AiTH) at NUS Business. His book Leadership by Algorithm: Who Leads and Who Follows in the AI Era was named as one of the 15 leadership books to read in the summer of 2020 by management guru Adam Grant.
In an announcement, Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, Founders of Thinkers50, said that they believe the 30 thinkers to watch in 2021 “will make an impact with their campaigning, their ideas, their research and their passion in the year ahead”, and that Prof De Cremer is involved in “[e]xciting work at the crucial intersection of science and management”. The Thinkers50 Radar 2021 list includes Cathy Hackl, a business leader in augmented reality who advocates for diversity in the technology sector; Luz Rello Sanchez who uses emergent technologies for dyslexia screening; and Matthew Gitsham, a professor who looks at sustainability and leadership.
“AI adoption should not simply be the act of performing some (cost-cutting) magic. Instead, we should be aware that the fabric of humanity is fragile and depends on the empowerment of human values to sustain it. But if in pursuit of smart management people are treated as data, then the fabric can disintegrate very quickly.”
Recognised for his ideas on bringing a human-centred approach to the study and organisational application of AI, Prof De Cremer advocates ways on how leaders can lead and transform effectively in the digital age.
With the introduction of AI to organisations and businesses, Prof De Cremer notes that it is imperative that we are clear on how to use this new technology so it serves the advancement of our human workforce in specific ways and humanity more generally.
“AI adoption should not simply be the act of performing some (cost-cutting) magic. Instead, we should be aware that the fabric of humanity is fragile and depends on the empowerment of human values to sustain it. But if in pursuit of smart management people are treated as data, then the fabric can disintegrate very quickly,” said Prof De Cremer.
To him, trust is an important business asset. Therefore, in the pursuit of responsible use of AI, a rule-based compliance framework needs to be complemented by an approach to compliance that considers a behavioural integrity perspective.
Through the work AiTH does, Prof De Cremer wants to make a difference by encouraging business students, entrepreneurs and organisations to be more reflective and aware of the possibilities, and also the limitations, of AI. As he notes, “We develop technology to serve humans to do better in the future, but we have to be careful that an obsessive focus on technological development does not push us in a direction where we end up preparing people to serve machine.”
By NUS Business