Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly popular and controversial topic of discussion, especially as its applications become prevalent in our personal and working lives.
Today, drones are delivering food – vacuums are cleaning homes on autopilot – virtual assistants are initiating customer service calls, GPS is directing us, while driver-less cars will soon be taking us to our desired destinations, while Bots become our new best friends – fitness gurus, health advisors and even virtual partners. Whether we are conscious of it or not – our mobile phones, social media, the Internet, and many of the systems we use at home and at work have AI running behind them. As we become more reliant on AI technology, our ability to carry out tasks considered the slightest bit mundane will have us all eagerly awaiting the next AI app to hit the headlines. On a personal and a professional level, it certainly does make me curious to learn about where we are in its development and how it is likely to impact jobs and business organisations in my key recruitment sectors of IT, Sales, Marketing and HR now and in the future.
So, what is AI?
AI is a broad area of computer science. The goal of AI is to mimic the human brain so it can function intelligently and independently to perform tasks like humans. Through Machine learning, practitioners develop AI models that enable it to “learn” from patterns drawn from huge volumes of data (using complex algorithms). While deep learning inspired by the human brain allows it to adapt to a given situation, to reason and problem-solve.
Currently AI can learn through voice, text and speech recognition. This is known as generative AI.
How is AI Used in Industry and Business
It can generate music, art and virtual worlds supporting the Entertainment sector, but it is not just for fun. It’s benefits in healthcare are undeniable with its ability to scan massive volumes of scientific literature for research into new drugs and medical diagnosis. In agriculture, it monitors crop moisture, soil composition and temperatures in growing areas, enabling farmers to increase their yields. In the financial sector, complex machine learning is used to fend off money launderers or sift through mountains of data for fraud-related anomalies. In can support the automation of production processes in manufacturing and in the delivery of products and services. It supports lead generation and virtual customer service in sales and marketing and can analyse data about users’ behaviour, preferences, and demographics to target audiences as well as personalized recommendations and experiences to customers resulting in greater profit. These are just a few examples of how it is transforming industry and the business world.
Risks of AI
There are concerns that AI technology poses a threat to people’s privacy, their human rights or their safety as it could be created based on underlying prejudices against groups which can include racist, sexist and other undesirable material. It is also prone to create fake news, which could serve to harm society. Other issues relate to its lack of transparency (it uses algorithms to perform tasks away from the human eye), which means it is difficult to check its accuracy, which also raises questions of accountability – who takes the blame in an organisation if it spits out inaccurate or wrong data and at what cost to the business.
Other concerns raised are around job security. However, according to findings by the Harvard Business School, AI capability is currently only at a level where it can perform mundane repetitive tasks which are unchanging. It can only perform tasks based on the data available to it. In contrast, as humans, we can imagine, anticipate, feel and judge changing situations to shift from short-term to long-term concerns. These abilities are unique to humans, which means while AI is suited to tasks of a repetitive unchanging nature, it will not replace other types of jobs.
More recently Geoffrey Hinton, known as ‘The Grandfather’ of AI quit his job at Google, he has grown increasingly concerned about the dangers of AI and for anyone wants to read more here is the link to article: BBC News Geoffrey Hinton
H2R Selection’s Experience with AI
Chat GPT (free to trial upon release this month) by Open AI, is an algorithmic AI chat system trained on a massive collection of internet-based resources starting from 2021.
In our trial at H2R Selection, we fed it several requests and discovered that with clear instruction it could generate, a format for a presentation on how to teach recruitment to a novice and produced a very generic outline of a Health & Safety Policy. Like most new technologies it is not perfect. Some background reading around it demonstrates some of its pitfalls – Limited knowledge cut-off (2021)- Lack of personal experiences or emotions, Contextual ambiguity, making moral or ethical decisions, understanding sarcasm or jokes in a broader context and limited ability to provide natural responses.
In conclusion, AI is a complex, and at times, controversial topic. While AI has the potential to offer huge benefits to businesses, many may be under extreme pressure to bring in the knowledge base to implement it as well as thinking about how it will change the structure and jobs of the people working in them.
This blog has been researched, developed and written by Rachel Baker. In her current role (Head of Recruitment at H2R Selection), she has been actively building a candidate base of skilled and experienced professionals with the experience to help with this transformation in her key sectors of IT, HR, Sales and Marketing. If you would like to get in touch with Rachel you can do so via LinkedIn or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and she would be more than happy to discuss your recruitment and candidate needs.