As technology advances seemingly at light speed, there is an ever-increasing chatter surrounding AI.
By now you may be tired of this debate which seems to be preoccupied with opposing opinions from two main camps.
One side would have you believe that with the advancement of AI we will make us more efficient and as a result, we will have more quality free time.
On the other side of the debate are those that say that AI and automation will take jobs away from those who are worst off in society, leaving them with no option but to depend on the Government for support.
(And then there are those who envisage AI gone rogue and robot uprisings on the streets… but let’s not dwell on that for now!)
Despite this debate, what we all really want to know is how this technology will affect us and the sector we work in.
So how might AI affect HR?
First things first, what actually is AI?
If we were to get into the real nitty-gritty of all the uses and possibilities of AI, this article would turn into a never-ending story so we've opted to keep it brief.
Artificial Intelligence or AI is essentially a computer program that has the ability to learn and adapt and is often described as being able to mimic human behaviour and thinking. Certain AI systems can typically demonstrate human attributes such as problem-solving, planning and reasoning.
Categorizing the many different functions and processes of AI is complicated, so to keep things simple, we’ll focus on two broad definitions: ‘Narrow AI’ and ‘General AI’.
Narrow AI has, as the name suggests, a narrow set of functions. These are intelligent systems which have been taught to perform specific tasks. They can only be taught how to carry out these specific tasks and therefore cannot learn and adapt in a way similar to humans.
General AI is a very different beast altogether as it is able to mimic those human behaviours we mentioned before. This type of AI has the ability to learn and carry out tasks which are vastly different from one another.
If you've ever seen a Hollywood film about AI, they're usually based on an imagined future of general AI.
There are many different uses for AI, but you may be more familiar with the likes of Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ or Apple’s 'Siri'.
AI has also made its way into the business world with banks using AI software as a means of fraud detection and some retailers using AI ‘chatbots’ to provide online customer support.
The theory is that introducing AI into business will allow companies to streamline their operations and manage their resources more efficiently; in short, it will allow them to do much more in less time.
Tech talk over, let’s get back to HR!
AI can be used by HR in a huge number of ways. We'll focus on the areas it's likely to have the biggest impact:
However, there are a huge number of other potential applications, big and small. AI can learn from experience, so once you give it a goal, it can experiment on its own to find the best solution.
The possibilities are endless.
The Next Recruitment Innovation?
The hiring process could be greatly altered by AI technologies with many time-consuming tasks devolved to new software.
The days of sifting through hundreds of CVs looking for the perfect candidate are soon to be over. CV sifting software which can pick out keywords from applications has existed for some time now and many companies already use it in some form, but recruitment software is set to get much more sophisticated.
The jobs website Indeed has already acquired software which simulates real-life scenarios that candidates will face and provides a detailed analysis of not only how much knowledge they have, but how they react to each scenario.
AI is also being tipped as the answer to ridding recruitment of unconscious bias, the reasoning being that AIs will never have the urge to select a candidate on the basis that they are a like-minded individual. (Skeptics have pointed out that it's possible for developers to accidentally pass their own subconscious bias onto the AI they create.)
Software company Textio provides a different spin on this idea, using AI to score your job descriptions on how effective they are at attracting the right candidate. They also offer guidance on avoiding language that is subtly gendered and might discourage diverse candidates from applying.
Giving You the Personal Touch
When it comes to the future of onboarding and training, personalisation is where it’s at.
We all learn in different ways and when it comes to training and staff development programmes, it can be difficult to find one that suits all preferences. AI can make mass personalisation of employee training possible, essentially giving each employee their own personal development coach.
The software that allows machines to give us personalised recommendations on which TV shows to watch or what restaurant to eat at is set to become available for employee training and coaching. This could have a huge impact on employee satisfaction rates and could ultimately end up boosting productivity and increasing staff retention.
Freeing Up Your Schedule
How much of your time is taken up by scheduling meetings and interviews?
We’re probably not wrong if we were to guess your answer would be ‘too much’.
That's why technology company x.ai have created Amy and Andrew Ingram, AI (see what they did there?) personal assistants who can take the weight off your shoulders. When you want to set up an interview all you need to do is CC: Andrew into the email and he'll find suitable dates, time and venues and invite your chosen candidates.
This is a very sophisticated system that impersonates human language and interaction so well that it’s impossible for anyone to tell it’s not a real assistant.
So, let’s not fear the robots! AI's application within HR has the potential to make a huge positive impact, ultimately making your working life simpler, more personal, and free from mundane tasks.
Exciting times are ahead!
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