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Understanding AI: It’s Intelligent...but still artificial



The role of artificial intelligence as it becomes more integrated within the HR industry

As proud advocates for the value of AI, with hard evidence of the benefits it offers, we’re always first to jump at the chance to talk about it (check out our recent articles in Huffington Post UK, HR News, Business Insider, YourWorkplace and ITProPortal to see what we’ve got to say). However, as the noise and hype around the use of technology in the HR industry increases, we’re noticing a rising concern about the threat it poses for HR professionals and the future of the role.

The simple message we offer clients and industry peers is - there is no threat.

AI is a technology based on machine learning, it takes the legwork and risk of human error out of a task by offering greater accuracy and consistency in every process it informs.

Key to understanding and accepting the growth of AI in both our personal and professional lives is in acknowledging that, yes it is a super smart technology, but it is no replacement for human interaction, instinct and intuition. It is still, after all, artificial.

Rather than ill-informed messages about robots stealing jobs that create a perceived “risk” of trying something new, we should be spreading the word that AI could be what brings greater efficiency, security and - ultimately - job satisfaction to the HR role. We’ve been talking for some time about the importance of finding the right balance between human instinct and technology and that’s exactly what the AI argument comes down to.

At the recent HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Vegas, which was attended by our channel and partnership team, much of the conversation was around AI. In that specifically HR-tech focused environment, you might expect the message to be very positive, but there were still some detractors labelling it as “hype”.

My issue with accepting that people believe AI is hype, lies in the fact that they are probably already using it.

HR and recruitment professionals that use tools such as LinkedIn Recruiter will be seeing significant improvements to their recruitment process efficiencies, and working away in the background to make that possible is an AI platform that learns from past job search successes to ensure the right candidates are exposed to the right opportunities.

Of course, any HR tech platform that’s reliant purely on AI will struggle. As I mentioned in another article about the biggest tech trends impacting HR at the moment, an HR professional or recruiter's job doesn’t end at the insight an AI solution spits out, but it will allow them to progress more quickly, with greater, more reliant insights.

As Michael Wright - current head of talent acquisition at Grab but soon to take on a role at GroupM in New York - very eloquently put it at the recent RHUB NZ event in Auckland, “Technology is a useful server but a dangerous master”. Let technology intimidate you and you might risk missing out on the vast opportunities it presents, but let it define the service you offer and you’re suddenly no longer in control.

From what we’ve seen at Xref - which has been validated with research we’ve commissioned - those who do not embrace technology face the very real risks of missing out on the best talent, losing great existing talent and either not utilising data properly or not securely gathering, storing and implementing it.

I urge you to embrace AI - and other emerging technologies entering the HR industry - or at least take the time to understand it and the benefits it offers. And, if you are looking to adopt some tech tools but don’t know where to start with the vast number available, why not take a look at our HR Tech Checklist, which offers a seven step guide to the key questions you should ask yourself about a solution before investing.

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