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The worker and skills shortages in developed countries all around the world have quickly elevated the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics as a way of minimising the reliance on human skills and availability.

Management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, in their white paper of three months ago, The State of AI in 2022, reported that,

“…the biggest reported revenue effects are found in marketing and sales, product and service development, and strategy and corporate finance, and respondents report the highest cost benefits from AI in supply chain management. 

The bottom-line value realized from AI remains strong and largely consistent. About a quarter of respondents report this year that at least 5 percent of their organizations’ EBIT was attributable to AI in 2021, in line with findings from the previous two years, when we’ve also tracked this metric.”

Managers across the United States have expressed a willingness to replace people with AI, citing its benefits as tech furthers its influence within workplaces.

Last month, in a survey of 3,000 managers conducted online via survey platform Pollfish from February 20-23, 65 per cent of respondents admitted that they would “gladly replace” employees with AI tools if the work was comparable and 69% say such a move would be financially beneficial to their business.

I am unsure to what extent AI will replace recruiters but I am sure that, if used effectively, AI has the potential to dramatically change the composition of a recruiter’s job.

Chatbots are some of the earliest examples of the efficiencies immediately and obviously available to recruiters through AI-powered tools. The ability of a candidate, 24/7/365, to express interest in a vacancy and have a chat with a bot to understand their basic suitability and the next steps in the process, including scheduling an interview, instantly provided a much better candidate experience than a large majority of agency or inhouse recruiters could provide.

People2people was one of the first agencies in Australia to adopt a chatbot for website inquiries when they launched ‘Pete’, in September 2018.

AI roared back into mainstream media headlines with the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT (GPT is the acronym for generative pre-trained transformer) last November.

OpenAI’s next iteration, GPT-4 has just been released with OpenAI asserting, “We spent 6 months making GPT-4 safer and more aligned. GPT-4 is 82% less likely to respond to requests for disallowed content and 40% more likely to produce factual responses than GPT-3.5 on our internal evaluations.”

GPT-4 can process images, recognise them and provide context. It reportedly makes fewer mistakes and “hallucinations” and is better at refusing attempts to get it to do things it’s not programmed to.

OpenAI’s GPT-4 is built off a deep-learning large language model: an enormous database of language that it analyses for patterns and uses to predict what answer you want based on your question.

The evolution in AI, in addition to what OpenAI is releasing, continues apace.

Last week Linkedin announced that it will start introducing a range of AI-enabled features – available to paying Premium users – designed to create greater profile personalization and write job descriptions. The new functions will be largely powered by GPT-4 technology.

As with ChatGPT, the AI that LinkedIn is embedding is meant to account for context learned from, as the company’s Editor in Chief Daniel Roth states, “10 billion years of professional experience.”

Roth explains that given LinkedIn’s many users over the platform’s history, there have been “[b]illions of trials and experiments, of mistakes and successes, in nearly every country and every industry. That’s an incredible store of knowledge.” The new features are meant to draw on all that information to assist users with a range of actions on the site.

The AI-writing prompts for profiles are aimed at helping people who have trouble writing their own engaging career summaries but might at least be able to document some of what they’ve done, which in turn gets translated into a more fluid narrative by the AI.

The tool for profile writing touts that it can help you get noticed, noting that using it helps you “stand out for almost 2x as many opportunities”.

The Tech Crunch report on Linkedin’s move noted that “It’s not clear if that means LinkedIn will algorithmically surface AI-based profiles more frequently in searches to promote the tool, or if it’s because the AI has been tweaked to produce text that works with SEO.”

To educate users and acclimate them to the new features, LinkedIn is offering free courses, in seven languages, for the next three months.

Another AI development of more practical and widespread use to all recruiters is last week’s launch of BrightHire AI Interview Notes.

BrightHire promotes its benefits as instantly able to generate summarised, concise, bulleted notes for any interview; quickly identify cornerstone interview questions and topics and easily skim the content and structure of an interview; revisit key sections in the interview with time-stamped quick links, so you can quickly watch important parts of the conversation; and easily transfer notes to your scorecard with a single click.

If what BrightHire asserts is accurate then this product truly is a game-changer. The multi-tasking required to focus on the candidate, write notes and effectively progress the interview in an efficient and timely manner was a challenge I never was able to master (and I doubt many recruiters have).

The world is waiting to see if Google’s Bard can recover from its public humiliation six weeks ago when it presented inaccurate information about the James Webb Space Telescope in a demonstration meant to show off the tool’s abilities, leading to $100 billion being wiped off the market value of its parent company, Alphabet.

Although employers are no doubt enthusiastic about the possibilities that AI offers, it seems employees are less bullish.

A new report Trust in Artificial Intelligence produced by KPMG and The University of Queensland found that only 43% of Australians believe their employers have practices in place to support the responsible use of AI.

More than 17,000 people from 17 countries were surveyed about their trust and attitude to AI and its use at work, along with the perceived risks, benefits, and expectations of management and regulation.

Seventy-five percent of respondents are concerned about potential risks of AI including cybersecurity and privacy breaches, manipulation and misuse, loss of jobs and deskilling, the erosion of human rights, and inaccurate or biased outcomes. The report revealed that, on average, only one in two people believe the benefits of AI outweigh the risks.

Clearly, there’s a long way to go before a large majority of employees believe that AI at a work is a net positive.

Right on cue the World Employment Confederation, earlier this month, adopted a Code of Ethical Principles in the use of Artificial Intelligence.

The WEC says, “At the core of the principles lies the need to keep the human element centric. AI systems used in the recruitment and employment industry should be beneficial for individuals and society as a whole. They should be designed to augment human capabilities, with clear processes in place to ensure that they remain under human direction and control at all times. Transparency, explainability and traceability should be guaranteed to understand how these systems arrive at their decisions.”

The Code contains ten principles, including privacy, ethical governance, and accountability, amongst others.

The rapid upgrading of GPT-4’s capabilities raises the rather obvious question – where will this market go?

I will defer to one of the leading experts in HR tech, Josh Bersin, to answer this question.

“As with any new technology, the pioneers often end up with arrows in their backs. So while Chat-GPT seems miraculous, we have to predict that innovators will advance, extend, and refine this quickly. I would be willing to bet that most VC firms are now writing blank checks to startups in this area, so there’s plenty of competition to come.

My gut feel is that companies like OpenAI and Microsoft will likely compete with many other players (Google, Oracle, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Workday, etc) so every major vendor will “bulk up” on AI and machine learning expertise. If Microsoft builds OpenAI APIs into Azure, then thousands of innovators will build domain-specific offerings, new products, and creative solutions on that platform. But it’s still to early to tell, and my guess is that industry-specific and domain-specific solutions will win out.

I liken this tech to the early days of “mobile computing.” In the early days we saw it as an “add-on” to our corporate systems. Then it grew, expanded, and matured. And today most digital system design for mobile first, they build entire tech stacks around mobile, and we study behavior, markets, and consumers through their phones. The same thing will happen here. Imagine when you can see all the questions your customers ask about your products? The opportunity is just staggering.”


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Great summary, some good podcasts to stay up to date on the latest in AI each week.

Hubspot Marketing Against The Grain
Hardfork – New York Times

Excited for the disruption coming, which will create lots of opportunities for those willing to do the hard work.

Lot’s of legal/regulation issues need to be addressed as well by policy makers which will be interesting to follow.

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