What’s Driving AI? Humans, Not Robots

Advancements in AI have been both thrilling and terrifying to watch both in personal life and the world of business. Of course, as with any new and innovative tech, there are bound to be critics. In Talent Acquisition, this is more than an understatement as more and more recruiters fear the implications of their own job stability. The idea that robots could one day do their work has produced an understandable outrage. We’re here to put those fears to rest. AI is still very much powered by humans, just like your Talent Acquisition process. 

First things first, AI isn’t all that artificial… yet.

Automation, Machine Learning and AI

We reported not so long ago that 3 out 4 U.S. Tech industry CEOs believe automation and machine learning are likely to replace at least 5% of their manufacturing, technology, sales, and marketing workforce by 2019.

The problem is that many people misunderstand the difference between those two types of technology and, even more, that they consider them to be true AI. It’s something we’ve spoken about before, but to put it bluntly, automation is not AI and machine learning, though a subset of AI is not able to create intelligence.

There’s a misconception that AI means machines are capable of understanding human interactions, emotions and other intellectual tasks as well as, if not better, than actual human beings. This type of artificial intelligence is reliant on a host of technologies including natural language processing and deep learning and often leveraging neural networks. This level of extensive level of AI doesn’t fully exist yet. In fact, it’s not expected to evolve for quite some time.

If you think #AI means machines are capable of understanding human interactions, please read this: Click To Tweet

The Humans Behind AI

Of course, AI isn’t a myth or fairy tale. It is real in that there are machines with amazing reasoning capabilities and statistical understanding. As computers and calculators have shown, these technologies are often much better at solving numerical problems and recognizing patterns than most humans, especially with speed as a factor. That doesn’t mean the innovative tech isn’t without their shortcomings. Many of the automation and AI we deploy for streamlining processes, like those in Talent Acquisition, are actually very reliant on human intervention.

Take, for example, chatbots, automatic replies and removals, content moderation… many of these rely heavily on contract workers. The implications of this work is discussed in a Harvard Business Review article co-authored by Mary L. Gray and Siddharth Suri. They blame a lack of transparency from many tech companies for the reason we often overlook the “ingredients of AI.”

In their work, we meet a young woman, Kala in India who spends hours of her week reviewing online content, training algorithms that curate and flagging inappropriate user-generated materials. 

The truth is, AI is as “fully-automated” as the Great and Powerful Oz was in that famous scene from the classic film, where Dorothy and friends realize that the great wizard is simply a man manically pulling levers from behind a curtain. This blend of AI and humans, who follow through when the AI falls short, isn’t going away anytime soon.Mary L. Gray & Siddharth Suri

The Future of AI in Talent Acquisition

So yes, AI is gaining intelligence, but the artificial part still needs some work. Talent Acquisition will not only need human intervention, it will thrive on it. As we know, communicating with talent requires attention to detail and an immense understanding of social interactions. 83% of professionals say a negative interview experience can change their mind about the role for which they were applying. As the statistic suggests, one wrong correspondence can completely derail a relationship with an interested candidate.

83% of pros say negative #interview experiences can change their mind about a role. Read more: Click To Tweet

What AI will provide the Talent Acquisition sector is the chance to focus on those very important interactions. Instead of recruiters fearing the effects of low responsivity, AI will provide a bridge between the time it takes for a candidate to submit an application and a recruiter to reach back out. AI will provide hiring managers dialog via chat systems prior to a meeting so that the interview is personal and productive.

It will save sourcers time, allowing them the ability to more easily eliminate candidates that don’t fit the position or culture before going through the motions of recruiting. What AI will do is allow Talent Acquisition leaders to redefine their role and specialties, focusing their attention on strategy and making personal connections, while AI takes care of some the time-consuming tasks that often stand in the way of both.

It is a little unnerving to see the possibilities this technology is providing consumers, companies and recruiters alike. (See the time the city of San Diego unintentionally tried to deplete Amazon’s dollhouse stock via Alexa.) Luckily, just as the rise of online news sources hasn’t eliminated television anchors and digital music hasn’t stunted new artists, AI will not eliminate the need for passionate Talent Acquisition experts, In the best case, it will make those who learn how to take advantage of this emerging technology even better in delivering the most essential human elements of recruiting.

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