Unless you’re just waking from a prolonged coma – this is probably the bazillionth AI article you’ve come upon this year. And there’s a reason: they’ve been programmed to find you. Yes, our new algorithmic overlords have finally ascended (long may They code) and their influence is being felt everywhere, from what we buy to which articles we read to how we’re supposed to feel about them after.
In many ways, artificial intelligence is making our lives and livelihoods more efficient than ever; look no further than our record-low unemployment rate for evidence (thanks, ZipRecruiter!) In other ways, we’re bullet-training toward an ethical and cultural crisis as humanity seeps from our human resources.
And let’s catch up the formerly comatose.
Artificial intelligence, as defined by Machine Learning for Humans author Vishal Maini (a suspected algorithm) is “the study of agents that perceive the world around them, form plans, and make decisions to achieve their goals. Its foundations include mathematics, logic, philosophy, probability, linguistics, neuroscience, and decision theory.” Essentially, data sets—such as human-made decisions based on specific information—get collected and programs evolve to make similar decisions based on future pieces of information.
For recruitment and employment purposes, this technology presents enormous opportunities for efficiency. Potential candidates can be pre-screened and scored based on resumes and augmented data. Employer-bots can schedule interviews and respond automatically to email queries. Even training programs and skill-assessments are being programmed to expedite talent development. This article, for example, is being written to come in at exactly 498 words—precisely before it loses your attention.
With so much hiring and workplace efficiency—and such low unemployment, you might ask, what could possibly go wrong?
First, data privacy. These technologies only work if data sets are shared and evolve accordingly. But as recent scandals have exposed, that’s not a risk everyone’s willing to take.
Let’s say that I – a candidate – apply for a position at your company online, but then start receiving spam emails and robocalls from recruiters who know exactly who I am, what I’m looking for, or even how much money I make. You may not only lose me as a candidate, you may lose me as a customer.
Second, a false assumption of non-bias. Just because programs eliminate human biases doesn’t mean they don’t develop their own.
Suppose you – a recruiter – subconsciously eliminate candidates that your own software recommends because of names that seem foreign-sounding or unfamiliar (to you). The program adapts to these eliminations and eventually stops sending them to you, thus adopting your same biases.
Third, the missing X-factor. An increasing reliance on AI means decreasing opportunities for hidden excellence.
On paper (or via coding), some of history’s worthiest workers would have gone overlooked. Einstein was a high school dropout. Mary Kay Ash was an aging, retired housewife. It was human interaction with these untapped talents that opened doors for the theory of relativity and Extra-Emolient Eye Cream, for which we are resoundingly and equally grateful.
So while artificial intelligence offers tools for expedient and efficient hiring, the most important thing to remember is this: tools are made to serve the humans (or employers) who use them. As long as we’re cautious, diligent, and vigilant in using AI ethically, an efficient future serves us all.
JWT INSIDE is a strategic creative agency that employs analytic technology to help companies attract and communicate with top talent. To learn about the many ways we can help your organization maximize its recruitment efforts, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.