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If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions

If I Had An Hour

4th industrial revolution, future, technology

We are standing on a precipice. 

We should not be surprised by the rate at which we are being engulfed by the 4th industrial revolution. Since the internet, adoption of new technology has progressed at an ever increasing pace. It took the telephone 75 year to reach 50 million users, the radio 38 years, the internet 4 years and angry birds 35…days. 

But with such accelerated adoption is technology outpacing human ability to process and adapt? There should be no doubt that this fast paced innovation has left legislators and law makers behind, that we are only now engaging in a public conversation regarding the dangerous of autonomous weapons (despite it being raised by leaders in AI in the late 80s) is an example of our human tendency to believe that the impending changes are not our challenges to face. This attitude is no longer appropriate and applies to more than just law makers.

The ubiquity of technology in our day to day lives means that we are all touched by this paradigm shifts. Recruitment is no exception.

The explosion in artificial intelligence, it’s ability to identify patterns, behaviors and trends is unparalleled by human beings. But one thing that AI is not, is unbiased. 

There are various new technologies in the recruitment space which aim to leverage machine learning, behavioral analysis and AI. Our hands on experience using IBMs Watson computer to analyze interview behavior leads us to believe that while there are obvious advantages to AI in recruitment (an ability to use interview behavior to estimate a candidate’s propensity to join/stay to a degree of confidence etc), the recruitment sector could be overcome by increased bias in the work place. This opinion is based on the fundamentals of AI. A set of training data is required by an AI in order for it to learn. The machine learning process is critical to ensuring the output is effective. If the historical data demonstrates a preference, the machine will give candidates with those traits priority.

With the rise of 3D printing, an increase in robots in the workplace, the automation of repetitive tasks and the increase in autonomous vehicles the blue color economy is under threat. This threat could manifest as a large increase in unemployment. At the same time we are experiencing another change encouraged by the 4th industrialrevolution, the freelance economy. In the US alone it is estimated that the free lance industry accounts for 34% of the national workforce and contributes $715 Bn per annum. 

This change in employment norms will impact the financial sector, the health category, the insurance markets and of course the hiring process.

With this in mind, it should be considered that a hiring strategy which affords too much value to the information produced by AI may lead to unforeseen consequences if not used in conjunction with human skills which cannot be emulated by a machine. The hiring of FTEs may no longer be necessary in all capacities allowing employers to reduce their headcount and talent will become more expensive as it competes with itself in a free, auction based, market.