Tag Archives: Artificial Intelligence

ai diversity inclusion

How AI Can Influence Diversity and Inclusion (for Better or Worse)

ai diversity inclusion

Recently, news broke that an AI-powered facial recognition technology used by law enforcement was actually biased against, well, pretty much everyone other than white men. This news hit the public like a slap in the face, but it’s something I’ve been seeing behind the scenes for some time now. Artificial intelligence as a technology isn’t good or bad – it just is.

AI, at its core, is like a toddler. Over time it learns and can improve its capabilities, but it isn’t smart enough to know the context and impact of its decisions in most cases. If we use it properly and with care, we can improve outcomes (including those related to D&I). If we use it carelessly, we can hamper our efforts and limit success both for our people and for our organizations more broadly.

In my book, Artificial Intelligence for HR, I talk about how employers can leverage AI technology to hire, develop, and engage their people, helping them to achieve the best results. It’s really a book about how to be more human at work (with fun stories and examples sprinkled throughout). Today we’ll explore some of the insights from my team’s research to make this conversation more concrete and actionable.

Negative Effects of AI

When you think about the negative impacts of artificial intelligence, your mind inevitably goes to something you’ve probably seen in a science fiction movie. Robots. Killer AI It’s a cliché, really, but the AI that I’m talking about today is less overt in nature.

Artificial intelligence algorithms are now being used for everything from child welfare to recidivism rates. If incorrect data are used, or if the algorithm has an underlying bias, then the results could be disastrous for those on the receiving end of the decision.

Within the workplace, AI can cause flaws in recruiting decisions, causing employers to avoid hiring qualified women and minorities. Amazon was courageous enough to come out last fall and share its own challenges with this process. Though some have disparaged the company for its results, I believe sharing the cautionary tale is a laudable act on the company’s part if it helps other firms realize the challenges that may exist.

Positive Effects of AI

At the same time, the positive opportunities presented by AI simply can’t be ignored. In a recent podcast interview with IBM’s Distinguished Engineer Lisa Seacat Deluca, she explained to me that the best way to create unbiased algorithms is to have a diverse team creating the software. This prevents groupthink and helps the team to think through outcomes for a variety of diverse individuals, not just a single group.

Let’s look at a few use cases for how AI can help in the workplace:

  • Uber uses an algorithm to set pay rates and schedule shifts for drivers, which allows it to cut the gender pay gap by half of what it is in the open market, improving pay equity for the more than 2 million drivers across the globe.
  • Unilever utilizes automated assessments and asynchronous video interviews to find talented, diverse college graduates to join its team. Moving away from a purely human-driven approach has increased diversity and candidate satisfaction.
  • Last fall I coached a startup in the HR Technology Conference “Next Great HR Tech Company” competition. The firm uses a chatbot to consume employee feedback surveys and performance review data to help coach managers on their individual performance issues, developing them into better leaders. If we developed all leaders, including diverse ones, then we would see more representation in the C-suite than we do today.

As you can see, the value in having an unbiased approach can lead to better outcomes on a range of factors, including diversity. That’s because machines are really great at certain things, but they’re terrible at others. That’s where humans come in.

The Core Human Skills of Work

When we look at history, every time automation has happened the resulting jobs are more human than the ones before them. We automate the more “robotic” components of the job, leaving it fundamentally changed. This means jobs will continue to shift into more human components, and soft skills will become key traits for employers to develop and seek. In researching dozens of sources, I found a core set of skills that we need to prioritize as employers so we don’t get tackled from behind by this algorithmic era.

Those skills include compassion, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity. I share more about them in this article, if you want to learn more, but it’s essential that we look for ways to develop these skills in ourselves and in our teams. Work is an essential component of being human, and these core human skills will set us apart from the AI, algorithms, and bots for the foreseeable future.

Buy a Book, Get Free Stuff: Limited Time Only

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this important announcement!

Cover design for the new book

Cover design for the new book

This year I’ve written my first book. It’s coming out in North America on December 28th. Since the publisher decided to push it to the end of the month, it’s not a Christmas present–it’s a “let’s start 2019 off with some really cool insights on HR and how technology is enabling us to create more human workplaces” present.

As with all my writing, there’s a good blend of research, fun stories, and examples to make even a book on technology very interesting and actionable!

Free Bonus AND a Giveaway

To encourage you to grab a copy, I’ll be running a special promo. Anyone that buys a book in the presale period will receive a special shirt to commemorate our collective belief that HR is an essential part of the future of work. We’re working on the design right now but it will be sure to get great comments (and plenty of jealousy) from your HR friends if they don’t get in on the presale.

Additionally, for every copy you buy you will get entered into a drawing to win a Human Capital Institute virtual conference pass ($800 value). Buy two copies, double your chances of winning! :-)

Please note: Amazon and other sellers do not send me presale information as the author, so in order to enter the contest and get your shirt I need you to send a copy of your receipt and your preferred shirt size to ben@upstarthr.com no later than December 30th in order to participate. Shirt orders will be made on 12/30 so we may not be able to accommodate late requests.

Note: If you are ordering a batch of 10 or more books for your HR team, your students, your customers, or a local HR chapter or reading club, please let me know and I can try to help with a bulk order to save you some money through the publisher directly.

Questions? Drop a comment below! Thanks in advance for all of your support and I am looking forward to sharing the book with the world!

Lisa Seacat DeLuca

We’re Only Human 43: IBM Leaders Share How Algorithms and Bias Affect Us

Amber Grewal

Amber Grewal

Recently Amazon announced it had shut down a talent-finding algorithm built by its internal team. Why? Because it was perpetuating bias against women at the tech giant, which is unacceptable in today’s work environment.

With so many bots, algorithms and other tools being used to automate our work and personal lives, it’s important to think about how this affects each of us. Is there bias in the algorithms that drive our decisions? If so, how do we mitigate that?

In today’s episode, Ben talks with two IBM leaders with diverse perspectives on AI, bias, and more. Lisa Seacat DeLuca and Amber Grewal both join the show to talk about how they see AI benefiting the workplace but also how to watch for bias and prevent it from creeping into the finished product.

Lisa Seacat DeLuca

Lisa Seacat DeLuca

To learn more, be sure to check out the following resources from IBM:

Website: https://www.ibm.com/talent-management
Twitter: @IBMWatsonTalent 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/watsontalent

Links to the references made by Lisa and Amber on the podcast:

hr executive ai changing hr

How AI is Changing HR for the Better

[Update 2019: This information has been woven into my new book, Artificial Intelligence for HR, which highlights the key skills we need to compete with machines in recruiting, engagement, and more. The book is getting rave reviews. Check it out here.]

Last week I was one of several thousand people that attended the 2018 HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. I had the opportunity to share about my take on the HR Technology landscape as it pertains to AI and automation technology that is affecting recruiting, talent management, core HR, and more.

In the video below, I answer a few key questions about how AI is driving value for employers that leverage it to solve HR and people-related challenges. This is from my upcoming book (now available for presale!) on Artificial Intelligence for HR. It’s a very practical look at where HR is today and how technology can enable us to FINALLY be strategic in ways we’ve always dreamed of by automating some of the simpler, transactional components and “grunt work” that we all have to do on a daily basis.

Plus, I grew a mini beard for HR Tech this year. Enjoy. :-)

Continue reading

money pay gap

Can Artificial Intelligence Solve the Pay Gap Problem?

[Update 2019: This story has been woven into my new book, Artificial Intelligence for HR, which highlights the key skills we need to compete with machines in recruiting, engagement, and more. The book is getting rave reviews. Check it out here.]

Note: if this concept interests you then you definitely need to click here and sign up to get a heads up when my new book is coming out later this year. In the book I tell dozens of similar stories along with leveraging research and examples of AI technology to support HR, recruiting, and talent. It’s written in my usual, down-to-earth style and will introduce you to a wide variety of use cases, vendors in the HR tech space that are doing interesting work with AI, algorithms, machine learning, and more. Learn more: http://AIHRBook.com

money pay gapPay parity is all about ensuring that women and men earn the same pay for the same work, yet the gender pay gap is still alive and well. Sources vary but one estimate put it at 11% back in 2016 (source). For every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 89 cents. But can an artificially intelligent system that makes decisions without bias or regard for someone’s gender solve this problem? For example, if you could design a system that schedules work shifts and pay rates based on a blind algorithm that does not factor gender into the decision, you would logically expect to find that men and women earn the same in such a system, correct?

But what if I told you this isn’t the case? Continue reading

skills future proof

Future-Proofing Your Skills for an Automated Workplace

[Update 2019: This story has been woven into my new book, Artificial Intelligence for HR, which highlights the key skills we need to compete with machines in recruiting, engagement, and more. The book is getting rave reviews. Check it out here.]

In a recent interview, I heard motivational speaker Jon Acuff tell the interviewer that he sincerely hopes that nobody looks for their dream job as their first “real” job. Instead, he explained, that first job is there primarily to teach someone how to have a job.

skills future proofHow to deal with people. How to handle pressure. How to solve problems.

Those and other similar soft skills will be increasingly important as the workplace sees increasing automation through artificial intelligence and robotics. Continue reading

perspectives ultimate

#UltiConnect 2018: AI Means HR Can Be More Human

 

perspectives ultimateThis week I spent some time at the Ultimate Connections conference in Las Vegas with the team from Ultimate Software (Twitter stream here). There were tons of product updates and great sessions, but one of the biggest takeaways for me was around AI and what it takes to build a great workplace.

During a recent event I was speaking with someone and she mentioned Ultimate Software. I said I knew the company, and her response shocked me. She said, “I wish I could…” And my brain jumped to the conclusion: “I wish I could get that software.”

However, her response was something else! She said, “I wish I could work there.” That, in a nutshell, embodies what Ultimate is all about. The firm is known within the HR community as a great place to work, has won virtually every award you’ve ever heard of (and probably some you haven’t), and has some pretty astounding Glassdoor reviews. Continue reading