Eric van Gils
We were recently given a glimpse into how artificial intelligence (AI) will change our daily lives when Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai’s presentation at the Google 2018 I/O Conference introduced us to Google Duplex, Google’s tool to accomplish real-world tasks over the phone.
Following the massive media response, Microsoft has now also demoed its own AI chat bot, holding a conversation with a human in chinese.
You don’t need to be a futurist to see how this technology opens up a whole new world of possibilities for professions that interact with people on a daily basis and these demonstrations show us practical examples of AI's affect on how computers engage with humans.
The effect on human resources
The obvious question for HR professionals is how organisations can adopt this technology to improve their interaction with employees and potential employees.
The fairness of AI machines assessing candidate profiles has been raised before, with the fact that a machine is only able to assess based on traits it is given by a human, and therefore is only as unbiased as the human who supplied the traits. This bias would then extend to candidates being interviewed by an AI interviewer.
If we project the development of Google Duplex into the future, it is not impossible that in a few years first screening telephone interviews could be done by an AI machine. The dilemma is whether a company should be required to disclose the fact the telephonic interview is being done by a computer, especially if the computer is not distinguishable from a human being.
The benefit to businesses of having AI telephonic interviews is that 100’s (or 1000’s) of candidates can be assessed at once. AI could then sift through the applications, consider the interview outcomes and suggest a shortlist, dramatically decreasing the time to hire in high volume recruitment environments. The next natural step would be that an assessment system would need to be confirmed to be unbiased, perhaps with some sort of assessment accreditation (similar to how we currently treat psychometrics).
Subsequent to their I/O Conference Google has stated that when Google Duplex becomes available it would be required to disclose the fact it is not a human.
Artificial Intelligence is going to make our lives infinitely easier and will improve a number of our mundane tasks (calling hairdressers or making restaurant bookings) but it will also add complexity to the ethics of how business is conducted and whether we always know who (or what) we are engaging with.
Some additional reading