What HR Execs Need to Know About AI

In a stunning survey by CompTIA, it was discovered that only 54% of business executives are currently aware of Artificial Intelligence as an emerging technology. With AI infiltrating everything from smartphones and households to customer service and business processes, it’s important for HR professionals and executives to understand the significance of the growing AI movement.

Here are some important things you need to know about AI:

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is usually defined as the science of making computers do things that require intelligence when done by humans.

Is it dangerous?

The prospect of A.I. becoming smarter than people at most tasks is the single biggest thing that drives debates about effects on employment, creativity, and even human existence. Innovators such as Elon Musk have warned that AI is the “biggest risk we face as a civilization”, and needs to be checked as soon as possible. The billionaire technology entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX said there is a risk that “until people see robots go down the street killing people they don’t know how to react”.

In direct opposition to Musk’s concern, Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has said, “I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”

While there are implications for properly governing the future of AI, there is a world of possibility, and like anything else, it can be leveraged for both good and bad.

What is the current state of AI in HR?

Deepak R. Bharadwaj has recently spoken on some of the most common implementations of AI in HR, in particular the development of bots. There are 3 major types of conversations that bots are likely to have:

  1. Retrieving system of record data such as “How many vacation days do I have left?”
  2. Answering a question based on knowledge base such as “What is the leave of absence policy in California?”
  3. Submitting a transaction such as creating a leave request and getting updates on approval status.

While this is a good starting point for the understanding of what AI and bots can do in today’s business world, it merely scratches the surface of other systems currently present in the marketplace. For example, we here at Essium have built a single platform that facilitates many processes, providing an onboarding program that maintains strict compliance. The range of processes include: Background checks, I-9/E-Verify Verification, ACA Compliance, Cobra Compliance, Visa Expiration Management, Time Collection, Payroll, And Billing, FMLA Tracking and Compliance, OFCCP Reporting and Compliance, WOTC Reporting, and Mandatory PTO and Sick Time Tracking.

What is the significance of this program? It’s an automated system that is run by intelligent bots, powered by AI, being used to leverage our greatest technologies combined with the human intangibles to revolutionize the way that business is done.

What’s the forecast?

The idea of AI has been around since the 1950s. While some would have imagined that we would be traveling in flying cars by now, the progress of AI has been slow and laborious…until the last 5 years, where we have seen a tremendous jump in its technological advancement, as well as interest from both the innovation and financial communities. Constellation Research predicts that by 2020, the artificial intelligence market will surpass $40 billion, and then $100 billion by 2025. Consider how AI has driven us to the current smartphone phenomenon. Personal assistants are now available to us in home and office with the introduction of Siri, Alexa, Google Home, and others. The forecast is bright, filled with continued possibility. In other words, AI is only going to expand from here.

Is there anything to fear?

This is a different question than the one proposed above, because understand this: By 2020, insights-driven businesses will steal $1.2 trillion (Yes, with a “T”) per annum from their less-informed peers (Forrester Predictions 2017). Perhaps the biggest thing to “fear” in the growing world of chatbots, robots, and artificial intelligence in general, is the fear of being left behind in a technologically driven world.

Don’t get left behind!