Thanks to the limitless possibilities that artificial intelligence (AI) has to offer, our lives have never been easier. From smartphones and personal assistants to home automation systems, AI is everywhere. The ability of machines to mimic human intelligence may seem frightening, but the truth is that AI is already transforming many industries. And it’s inevitable that labor markets and traditional workplaces will become part of this transformation as well.
Though this tech has been around for quite some time, recent advances in computing have started accelerating the growth of AI, and many companies are investing heavily in this technology. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), global spending on AI systems, including automated customer service agents, sales process recommendation systems, and fraud analysis and investigation tools, is estimated at $35.8 billion in 2019. The IDC further predicts that by 2022, global spending on AI will reach $79.2 billion.
An AI-powered robot makes employee recruitment fairer and more objective
One of the areas that could witness a major change driven by AI is employee recruitment and assessment. Tech companies have already developed several AI-powered solutions that automate recruitment and hiring processes. For instance, a Stockholm-based company specializing in the development of AI robots, Furhat Robotics, created an innovation called Tengai to conduct job interviews. What makes this robot unique is that it’s completely unbiased during a job interview, which isn’t the case with human recruiters, who often develop unconscious assumptions and biases about candidates based on traits such as voice, gender, or appearance.
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Tengai, which consists of a robotic head weighing 3.5 kilograms, can mimic human speech and facial expressions, and it asks every candidate questions in the same tone and order to make the recruitment process fairer. After the interview is over, Tengai provides human recruiters with a text transcript of the conversation with a candidate, and it’s up to them to decide which candidate should move to the next stage. The robot could be the perfect choice for recruitment that involves a lot of candidates and could serve as a great first step in the hiring process. The robot is currently undergoing trials, and the developers plan to make it sophisticated enough to autonomously decide which candidate should move forward to the next round.
IBM’s AI tech identifies which employees are likely to quit their jobs
Besides simplifying the recruitment process, AI can help managers discover which employees are planning to leave their companies. This is exactly what IBM’s AI system can do. IBM, which has around 350,000 employees, developed the system using Watson AI tech. CNBC reports that the innovation shows 95 percent accuracy in identifying employees who are about to quit their job.
Though it hasn’t been revealed how the system actually works, it’s possible that the tech analyzes data points such as job satisfaction and performance reviews. Based on the data, IBM’s technology can detect those who are likely to leave. Supervisors and managers can then use this information to reach employees before it’s too late and convince them to stay through education or financial benefits and promotions. After all, “the best time to get to an employee is before they go”, says IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty. Rometty also claims that the AI system has helped her company save $300 million in retention costs.
Microsoft wants to close the AI skills gap
With the rise of AI, there’s a demand for developing new skills and competencies. However, most workers today lack the necessary skills, which is why they fear they’ll become obsolete. To address this issue, Microsoft announced a partnership with the education provider General Assembly (GA) to upskill and reskill 15,000 workers by 2022.
Over the next few years, Microsoft and GA will train workers in AI-related skills and help them transition to roles involving AI technology. Microsoft is joining GA’s AI Standards Board, which will define AI skills standards, design career frameworks, and develop assessments. Microsoft also plans to establish an AI Talent Network, through which it will be able to source candidates for employment. “As a technology company committed to driving innovation, we have a responsibility to help workers access the AI training they need to ensure they thrive in the workplace of today and tomorrow,” explains Jean-Philippe Courtois, Microsoft’s executive vice president and president of global sales, marketing, and operations.
Will AI help us or replace us?
Instead of being afraid of automation, companies should be more open to embracing new technologies. AI and machine learning are sweeping into today’s workplace, and they have great potential to take over mundane tasks. This benefits human employees who are then able to do more rewarding work. The adoption of AI will alter career pathways, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad thing. Since AI technology will inevitably affect the workforce in some way, it’s up to companies and employees to learn how to get the most value out of it.
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International keynote speaker, trendwatcher and futurist Richard van Hooijdonk offers inspiring lectures on how technology impacts the way we live, work and do business. Over 420,000 people have already attended his renowned inspiration sessions, in the Netherlands as well as abroad. He works together with RTL television and presents the weekly radio program ‘Mindshift’ on BNR news radio. Van Hooijdonk is also a guest lecturer at Nyenrode and Erasmus Universities.
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