T3 – What the Hell is Artificial Intelligence in HR?

The HR Technology Conference is in Chicago this year from October 4-7 and I’ll once again be blogging live from the show. As I’m preparing and scheduling meetings with various vendors one thing have become perfectly clear, I’ll be doing a lot of talking about “Artificial Intelligence”(AI).

You know AI, right? The stuff we see in  movies in the future where computers and robots begin the think for themselves then very quickly understand that humans are inadequate so they ‘decide’ humans are no longer needed and only machines should run the world. Yeah, That AI! Sounds like the perfect HR replacement!

Okay, I’m only half joking.

So, what the hell is AI in HR, really?

The actual definition of Artificial Intelligence is simply, intelligence exhibited by machines. That’s pretty broad, but now you see why the movies have taken this to resemble human-like robots and overly aggressive computer programs with condescending attitudes. The greatest ‘real’ example of AI is IBM’s Watson (see the video below).

Artificial Intelligence in HR is designed to take and transform data into ‘humanized’ formats that we can easily digest and take action on. You will see this every day in the predictions and suggestions that your HR and TA systems make for you. A simple example would be pre-hire assessments that predict once candidate could possibly be a better hire than another candidate. This is AI for HR.

Not quite robots taking over your job, but it helps put into context the buzz word “Artificial Intelligence” is quickly becoming in HR and TA.

AI is moving into almost every kind of technology we’ll use in the next few years. There are systems on the market that can now, fairly accurately, tell you which of your employees will be next to leave your organization. Where you should be building your next call center. What groups of employees when paired together in a team will develop your next best selling product or service. That’s all really cool!

But, it’s still not robots taking over the world because they find you inadequate, yet!

So, get ready for the fall conference season knowing you’ll hear two things a lot as HR and TA vendors do their annual ‘let’s talk over your head’ by using really fancy, mostly made up, terms to make you think are tech is something you must have. “Machine Learning” and “Artificial Intelligence” (which are basically the same thing) will be shoved down your throat at an alarming rate!

While the sales pitch might be lame, you know I love the technology. Predictive technologies are the next level technology for most HR and TA shops. The challenge we all have as leaders and pros is trusting what the technology is telling us.  We still want to believe we, the humans, are smarter than the machines. Unfortunately, we are not.

The organizations who can get themselves to trust the technology the fastest and follow the recommendations, consistently, not just when it ‘feels’ right, will be out in front of everyone else. So, don’t get intimidated by AI or Machine Learning. Embrace the cheesiness of your local HR and TA vendor salesperson. Who knows, next year a robot might be selling you your software!

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