3 min read

Who is your HR sidekick?

Natasha Harries January 29, 2021
HR Sidekick

Who is your HR sidekick?

Johnny-Five, Jarvis, Wall-E, R2-D2, C-3PO and The Terminator. Once upon a time, the existence of these characters was only possible in science fiction movies and hardly believable to one day become a very possible reality. Yet here we are! We are seeing almost daily the continuous advancement of technology and there are more examples of people and AI, when in partnership, doing great things.

The University of Edinburgh is working on integrating AI with prosthetic limbs, specifically artificial hands that are able to ‘learn’ the necessary pressure required to pick up an egg, or hold a child’s hand. This is arguably an example of the wonderful relationship we have with our ‘robot friends’ being put to good use.

Robots are everywhere, including in HR!

No, we’re not talking about your Head of People being replaced by The Terminator. But we are looking at how recently, the awareness surrounding the benefits of AI in HR is increasing. What do we mean by AI? Well, the basic definition was first coined back in the 50s by John McCarthy, an American Computer Scientist from Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

“Artificial intelligence is a sub-field of computer science. Its goal is to enable the development of computers that are able to do things normally done by people. In particular, things associated with people acting intelligently.”

What sounds like the stuff of science fiction, when put plainly, is very clearly part of our mundane, everyday life. The news you scroll through each morning? Yes, some of those articles have been written by an AI! The ‘recommendations’ list on your Netflix? That is an AI too. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home - Yes, your home is being run by an AI.

Back to HR, its relationship with AI and the middle-man; Data. Without a vast amount of past data, it is impossible to create algorithms or an AI that can make decisions or predictions on our behalf. The most common use of AI within a HR process is job adverts. Consider targeted job adverts. Without past data, the algorithm would not ‘know’ who to place an advert in front of. The more data it has, the more intelligent it becomes and before you know it, an ideal candidate scrolling through LinkedIn aimlessly on the commute home finds their ‘dream job.’

Moving on to recruitment. It is becoming more and more popular for companies to use tools to assist in their recruitment process. Automatic interview scheduling, preselection tools such as psychometric testing providing more intelligent insight into their candidates’ suitability, automated onboarding sessions etc.

Will Human Resources become Artificial-Intelligence Resources?

Short answer? No. Long answer - there are a lot of ideas about how AI is going to change the face of HR. Artificial Intelligence is not something we should be afraid of. Just like R2-D2 and C-3PO, without them, would Luke have defeated Vader? Maybe. But it certainly would have been harder! AI is a useful piece of technology that can make HR processes easier. It is to support and help make better decisions faster.

Just as if we had shown the capabilities of an Amazon Alexa to someone 30 years ago, we probably cannot imagine what AI capabilities we will experience in the next 30 years to come!

Natasha Harries January 29, 2021

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