He picks up scraps of information
He’s adept at adaptation
‘Cause for strangers and arrangers
Constant change is here to stay…”
—Rush, Digital Man
Over a 100 talent acquisition professionals, talent advisors and entrepreneurs sat rapt in chairs or stood fixated along the walls listening to us talk about the future of artificial intelligence in recruiting and its impact on the world of work.
It was a technology meet-up event in Toronto, Canada, and the consensus was that AI and machine learning will make it easier to match qualified individuals to the right jobs through highly-developed algorithms and self-adjusting assessments.
All us panelists agreed that the robots aren’t taking over any time soon, although one of them added that these recruiting technologies are advancing faster than most of us are aware of. We agreed. Today there are dozens and dozens of artificial intelligence startups in the business of hiring people.
Nearly two decades earlier, when I first entered the HR and recruiting technology space, I worked for a company whose pitch was:
We source Interested, Qualified Applicants for software developer, IT, and Asian-language bilingual positions. You pay only for those candidates who you decide meet your specifications and who have agreed to an interview. You’re in control. Sophisticated artificial intelligence quickly predicts the likelihood of a match between interested applicants and a particular position.
It was cool. It was disruptive. It worked. Kind of. And it was way too early, even with the magic algorithm we had and the computing power of the day. Unfortunately it became a dot.com demise before it really took off. Since then I’ve seen hundreds companies over the past 18+ years claim their technology will help companies identify and screen the right applicant for the right position quickly and effectively, if not automatically.
Our panel discussion continued and we took questions from the audience. One women asked all of us, “Based on what all of you know today, what’s one thing that continues to differentiate humans from artificial intelligence?”
Each panelist answered thoughtfully. When it was my turn I said, “The nuance of empathic interaction; our capacity to love.”
I went on, “Maybe hundreds of years from now technology comes to life, but until then it can only replicate our behavior, faster and better, but not become it.”
“True that modern neuroscience has shown us how bad we are at making decisions, but it’s also part of what makes us uniquely human, the very essence of our ever-evolving DNA.”