Employer Branding

How HR Uses AI to Uproot Unconscious Bias

Intelligent machines aren’t stealing our jobs – they’re making us better at filling them with right fit hires.

The development of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) can sometimes feel like a double-edged sword: we marvel at intelligent machines achieving bigger and better things, but at the same time, they’re starting to outcompete even human superstars at their own games, according to recode. Viewed in that light, A.I. can start to seem like a threat.

But in reality, the purpose of A.I. isn’t to outperform us – it’s to enhance our own capabilities. The intelligence of computers is apparently exceedingly narrow, as TechCrunch explains, in fact, good only for the specific tasks to which we assign them (like chess).

With some savvy, however, we can use A.I. to compensate for our own personal weak points, dramatically improving our effectiveness as professionals. This is why HR professionals are now using A.I. to target one of humankind’s most deeply ingrained shortcomings: unconscious bias.

Data can be objective where we can’t

Unfortunately, personal bias is a fundamental component of human nature – in other words, it’s not something we can avoid. No matter how self-aware we become, every decision we make is undermined by subjective opinion and, therefore, bias, (or subconscious view perhaps is another more common term) – one of the reasons why companies are having so much trouble improving diversity and inclusion.

According to Fast Company, that’s why hiring managers are turning to the data-based, objective opinions of A.I. While we can’t remove bias from our own brains, we can program computers to outsmart it. Thanks to a technology called machine learning, A.I. programmes can crunch massive data sets in order to identify subtle patterns, thereby pinpointing the exact places where bias crops up in the hiring process.

True to the “learning” moniker, these computers can adapt dynamically to a changing hiring landscape, altering their assessments as new information rolls in or as recruitment strategies change. Naturally, recruiters from across Silicon Valley – at the leading edge of diversity initiatives – have taken notice, as PBS reports.

Hiring fairly and intelligently

The benefit to HR teams, as Motherboard observes, is the ability to optimise hiring from top to bottom; everything from interview questions and candidate selection criteria to the behaviour of individual recruiters can be analysed, dissected and improved. Of course, as they note, no A.I. will deliver perfect performance 100% of the time – machine learning algorithms are influenced by the very people who create them.

Despite the impossibility of flawless accuracy, organisations can still greatly benefit from the advantages of A.I. to create better human teams – and that’s exactly what they’re doing. According to TechRepublic, A.I. is already being employed by many major companies across the globe to identify and retain top talent.

By gauging emotional intelligence and analysing keyword choice, computers can determine whether candidates will thrive in a company’s unique culture.

While we said earlier that the purpose of A.I. isn’t to outperform people, the reality is that, for recruiters, intelligent computers are changing the game. It doesn’t require the help of A.I. to conclude that, equipped with such programs, HR teams may just have an inhuman advantage over their competitors.

About the author: Kirstie Kelly is a writer at Launchpad, makers of video led HR software. She has many years of experience within recruitment and is passionate about promoting diverse and inclusive workplaces.

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