The internet is a beautiful place. We can go onto Google and search for whatever knowledge we seek or find (and instantly buy) whatever our heart's desire. It comes at the caveat of coming across information that might not be coming from a source of truth.
We’re talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI uses human intelligence programmed into machines like computers and mobile devices to think, work, and problem-solve like humans. Everyday AI comes into play when you’re using Siri or relying on Netflix, suggest what film to watch next.
And it’s a hot topic of discussion these days, but AI itself isn’t new. The term was coined way back in 1955 and has been thriving ever since. At the turn of a new decade, more than ever, AI plays a role in our lives, so naturally, it’s bound to be discussed.
With all of these opinions and ideas floating around about AI, you’re probably thinking (or typing into Google): What are the pros and cons of AI? What are the risks of AI? Is AI bad?
If you have thought about these things, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
A 2018 Gallup poll reveals many people believe that AI will destroy jobs, but not just their own job. Over 73% of Americans believe that AI will be a net job destroyer. And that poll was taken two years ago. Have perceptions gotten better? Search volumes about the questions people are asking around AI say "no."
Historically, we have a fear of the unknown, especially when it comes to technology. So, we’re addressing the misconceptions surrounding AI because we know how impactful AI is and can be used for businesses and individuals. This is why we get up every morning - because of the belief that AI technology can change the world for the better.
But we want you to learn and make those deductions for yourself. So we’ve put together a few facts with data and what some of the experts in the field have to say about AI.
AI facts you should know:
- AI Saves Time and Money by Solving for Inefficiency
- AI Can Be Ethical if Programmed without Bias
- AI Will Not Replace People or Remove Human Touch
- AI Will Ready the Workplace for the Future
AI Saves Time and Money by Solving for Inefficiency
Time-saving convenience. It's the reason we all love having technology in our lives. Whether it’s ordering a gift to be delivered the next day because of procrastination or using an app to shut off any lights in the house, we might have missed. Could you imagine your day to day without it?
Similarly, when it comes to work, AI is there to do the task you don’t have time for or just don’t want to do. So, AI becomes extremely useful for businesses who are looking to turn inefficiencies into efficiencies, save workers time, or improve ROI. AI might sound too good to be true, but it’s not. AI gives you time back to do the work that matters most by:
- Doing tiresome and tedious work
- Providing faster response times
- Increasing the ability to meet goals
- Allowing for real-time personalization
So let’s talk about these many repetitive tasks in our jobs that we (not surprisingly) dislike doing every day. These tasks simply take up too much of our time, and we wish there was a “better way” of doing something. How does AI solve the inefficiencies we face during work hours? Let’s talk about recruiters, for example. Recruiters set out in search of the best talent.
They have to balance having a great personal relationship with candidates and fulfilling the needs of their business partner, the hiring manager. During this balancing act, they also have to screen every candidate, review hundreds of resumes, schedule and reschedule interviews, call and email all day, and answer any questions that might come up while on (and off) the clock.
Enter AI. A platform like Humanly that offers recruiters solutions to automate all of these tasks listed above truly saves time.
If we simply look at the candidate screening stage, here is the breakdown of related activities
- Reviewing applicants (resumes, external sources)
- Hiring manager phone screen
- And the follow-up process of reference checks
The sources we found calculate the tasks historically at around 30+ hours spent across the board.
Most sources suggest an average of about 150 resumes received per position. Based on our primary research, we feel in high volume hiring scenarios (our target), that # doubles (if not more than doubles). About half the time here is spent on "reviewing candidates," which includes resumes and online sources, and most of the remainder is on pre-screen and phone screen, with reference checks being least here (though I imagine there is a lot of back and forth there too).
Not only was the time saved, but the candidates were happy with the experience because of the quick response and personalization.
Humanly responded to thousands of conversations within minutes, which resulted in an average of 4.8 out of a 5-star rating.
We’d all be a little happier, too, if the first step to getting a new job was as easy as answering a few questions via chat and landing a job interview in just a few minutes.
So, you’re probably thinking, “Great, AI saves you time, but money talks.” Competing budget priorities are a hard barrier to get past, and you’re not wrong to think that the cost of implementing AI could come with a higher price tag than you’re willing to pay. This is where you have to take a bit of a shift in mindset. Think of conversational AI like Humanly as your digital worker.
A digital worker these days is almost necessary because as hard as we may try, we can’t be “ON” 24/7, 7 days a week. Even when we are in tip-top shape for working days, we also can’t do it all. Being able to respond quickly and have hyper-personalized touches means we need AI to do that work around the clock. Thanks to AI, automating screening, engagement, and reference check routines will increase productivity on your end.
Productivity = cost savings as this digital worker doesn’t need paid time off, onboarding or training, and can work all day, every day, without stopping for a lunch break. In those regards alone, your digital worker saves you money. But we’re also talking about AI bringing that money back to you. AI is a cost-effective investment, making for the best kind of worker/coworker/business partner you could have by your side. Businesses across industries have pocketed the benefits of using AI.
Companies who embrace AI have seen significant growth over those who have yet to adopt this technology. Leaders in this Accenture survey experienced more than 10% growth in 2019 (81%), compared with 36% of laggards. And just over half (51%) realized more than 20% growth.
Even UPS saves time and money, thanks to conversational AI, by creating a chatbot that customers perform easy tasks on their own like tracking a package and finding shipping rates. Thanks to this AI, UPS expects to save $200 to $300 million a year.
Plus, AI savings in healthcare is enormous. Harvard Business Review’s data shows that virtual assistants and administrative workflow can add $38B in annual value by 2026. That’s not even counting the cost savings of using AI to assist in surgery, just alleviating labor shortages and adding easier technology integrations.
The future of savings with AI is bright, especially for banking. Banks that invest in AI could increase their revenue by an average of 34% and their employment by 14% by 2022. Next year, AI will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and save 6.2 billion hours of productivity. That’s a lot of cost savings linked to the time savings AI brings. Depending on your industry, there could be more possibilities for you to use AI than you know, for now, and in years to come.
AI Can Be Ethical if Programmed without Bias
This is a touchy and intricate subject. The fact of the matter is, AI isn’t inherently biased. If AI does have bias, it’s because of human error. Why is that? And, as we are the ones building AI to mirror ourselves, machine learning can take on the bias of the builder. Also, AI is only as accurate as the data you're feeding it. Bad data can contain bias based on gender, age, or race. This bad data has led to a few notable cases of discrimination with companies like Amazon and Facebook.
So how do we create AI without bias?
Identifying accurate data, multiple sources of data, understanding the limitations of your data are the building blocks of responsible AI. We need to take an approach that depends on trust and responsibility. Like Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and definitely can have those superhuman-like strengths. There are also many helpful resources from industry leaders that can help reduce bias in AI to see that it’s used fairly:
- The AI Now Institute publishes annual research reports about bias
- Google AI created recommended practices for fairness around AI
- The European Union High-Level Expert Group on AI created guidelines around removing bias
- Groups like IBM have created new methodologies to reduce discrimination in AI
At the end of the day, it’s up to us to be continually improving to ensure AI is fair for all. When we do so, the benefits are on our side because a just and fair AI is exceptionally beneficial. In many cases, AI can help reduce our subjective interpretation of data. This is because machine learning algorithms learn only to examine the variables that improve their predictive accuracy, based on the data used. Evidence shows that algorithms can improve decision making, causing AI to become fairer in the process of learning.
Especially in the world of recruiting and hiring, AI can create a more ethical process or screening and hiring candidates. Bias can surface by just reading what candidates may have on their resume or interviewing candidates face-to-face for positions. AI can perform basic level filtering. Are you old enough to apply, a citizen of the country you’re applying for said job, can you work the hours needed?
In the realm of the job search, a resume is the golden ticket that helps candidates score a job interview. Even the skills highlighted on a resume can be judged. So when AI comes in to do the work, words, phrases, and tones aren’t given bias. An AI resume-builder can also help translate skills from one field into another. This is one of the most critical aspects for a business to consider is how they can use AI to help eliminate bias from hiring.
Building AI to unlearn bias in recruiting and being transparent about the process is top of mind for us at Humanly, and other companies agree.
Addressing issues like bias and privacy are emerging priorities. 52% of leaders in AI say that companies need to make data and analytics transparent and comprehensible to consumers and non-scientists.
Allowing transparency and ease of understanding about how we use AI will make issues like bias seem less intimidating. It’s also critical to the success of an AI product. If adverse impacts of AI are not addressed by companies themselves, data privacy and ethical issues could become very heavily regulated. Hopefully, without major limitations to the people that use it. Along with making AI more ethical, it’s also becoming safer for people to use thanks to more regulation.
AI isn’t operating in a completely lawless space anymore. While AI with machine learning and natural language processing may be a newer product category, there’s now emerging governance around AI that helps make sure it’s safe to use and in the consumer’s best interest. This is happening in the United States and around the world.
Autonomous vehicles are currently the most talked about AI to be regulated, but another area of AI where rules have been put in place is data privacy. Take our AI platform. It’s to ensure the personal assets of potential and existing customers are protected. We incorporate the latest security safeguards to minimizing customer risk associated with GDPR compliance, malicious cyberattacks, and information theft.
There are self-governance approaches to take with AI. The fire warden approach to AI governance gives teams the skill to escalate issues that immediately need attention. This approach supports an environment of innovation and agility that is necessary for businesses to remain competitive. Plus, being agile means you can evolve alongside ever-changing AI.
While more laws are passed around the use of AI, we can take these steps, side-by-side with efforts to create unbiased AI and govern ourselves. Once we’ve established fair and safe data, we can move on to another important aspect of AI, making it more human.
AI Will Not Replace People or Remove Human Touch
The biggest myth about AI is that it will make people obsolete. And, as noted above, many people believe this is the case. But the real relationship between AI and humans paints an entirely different picture. This new technology’s implications are still being revealed, but we still have reliable data to show that AI isn’t the human worker’s end.
Change is a scary thing, especially when it comes to work. The feeling of being unnecessary anymore is one we all face day-to-day. But AI is here to help us do our jobs better, not take our job away. While all jobs will change as new technologies emerge, few jobs will actually disappear. What’s really changing is how we do work and how our work gets done. Within the education, healthcare, and public sector, AI has created more jobs than it has eliminated.
These new jobs come in the form of supporting AI. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field of computer and information research to grow by about 19% between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the growth expected for all other jobs thanks to the demand for people who can develop AI technology. But also, there’s now an ever-growing demand for soft skills.
AI is a whiz at hard skills, but AI can not replicate the soft skills we have. People will probably always have the upper hand in communicating, team building, collaborating, critical thinking, and creating. Jobs like Creative Directors, Human Resource Managers, UX/UI Specialists, and Sales Managers can’t be replaced by AI.
LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner says, “As powerful as AI will ultimately become and is becoming, we're still a ways away from computers being able to replicate and replace human interaction and human touch. So there's a wonderful incentive for people to develop these skills because those jobs will be more stable for a longer period of time. We're also capable of closing these gaps now, today.”
So we may have to learn these soft skills to adapt to the addition of AI to our work, but we won’t have to adjust to using AI. AI’s simplicity for us to use means we don’t have to learn an entirely new set of skills. We use computers and mobile devices on a daily basis. That knowledge is already there. AI’s natural language processing makes it simple to interact with. So that means that incorporating AI will be less disruptive to our lives than we assume.
And AI, in turn, will help us make our work more human. 93% of employees are ready to embrace AI at work. These workers understand that by freeing up time to be more empathetic, creative, and engaging has a significant impact on happiness and morale. This shift in workplace culture leads to a more customer-centric approach. The customer experience is top of mind for many companies, as it has a direct correlation with growth. Companies that excel at customer experience see revenue growth 4-8% above competitors in their industries.
Not only will AI drive customer satisfaction, but it will improve employee satisfaction. As a result, work will be more rewarding for people. With less stress will come decreased turnover. The cost of turnover for companies is too high in this competitive labor market. Now the opportunity of using AI is in the hands of HR to learn how to understand and improve the work experience. To make work easier and workers more productive.
So AI will not replace us, but it will automate certain skills in jobs. Just like email took away the need for someone to deliver interoffice mail, AI will reduce the need for telemarketers and proofreaders. The future of AI in the workplace is something to get excited about because not only will our quality of work improve, but our quality of life will improve.
AI Will Ready the Workplace for the Future
We’re at the beginning of a brand new decade. The future is bright, and AI is starting to play a considerable role in creating the workplace of tomorrow. AI adoption will happen faster than you might expect. By 2030, some 70% of companies might have adopted at least one type of AI technology.
How we do work, from the moment we start our job search, to how we’re trained for the job, to how our skills are developed on the job, AI will help guide the way. A chatbot will answer any questions we might have about our new role, from benefits to signing into our email. It’ll also give us advice on our career path and provide the opportunity to check in with how we feel about our job. Where do I get my W2? Can I take public transit to the office? All of this and more will most likely be wholly digital and answered by AI.
AI will also majorly support the HR, manufacturing, or logistics areas of a company. This will help them automate their processes to become more efficient and make time for a more hands-on approach with employees. Time and people management will also be easier from the top down when managers can get all of their information on a dashboard, powered with data from AI.
Culture will also need to change to embrace this data-driven culture of AI. With the importance of data to be real-time, our decisions across an organization will support the best data-mining activities. We’ll have to think differently when it comes to analytics. This problem solving will lead to new and emerging roles in data science as well as customer insights. This, in turn, will help all areas of a business make a decision. For example, what is the best message to send to a candidate after scheduling a job interview?
Many of these things are happening now. So what’s there to look forward to that we don’t already have in our line of sight?
Gartner’s predictions for AI’s impact in the workplace are spot-on for what you can expect, “AI has already been applied to highly repeatable tasks where large quantities of observations and decisions can be analyzed for patterns. However, applying AI to less-routine work that is more varied due to lower repeatability will soon yield superior benefits. AI applied to non-routine work is more likely to assist humans than replace them as combinations of humans and machines will perform more effectively than either human experts or AI-driven machines working alone will.”
AI will only get better and cheaper, but waiting for it to improve may put your business behind others in your industry. To stay competitive, how do you take advantage of AI now?
The key is to implement AI successfully is to create a flexible environment where collaboration and communication are at the front of your work. Your business will need to immediately overcome any trust and biases you or your team has surrounding AI, and you’ll have to ensure cost savings are there. You’ll also want to:
- Learn about AI and how it’s used in your industry
- Identify your business’ and customer’s pain points
- Bring in experts to help implement AI
- Gather data needed to power your AI
- Start small by incorporating AI with daily tasks
We recommend starting a conversation with experts in the industry for those in the HR and recruiting space.
Share what you’ve learned about AI with your team and start discussing how AI can add value to your workplace. To see what impact AI like Humanly can bring to your work, read-up on recruiting automation.