AI is affecting talent acquisition at a rapid pace, from chatbots that mimic humans to the automation of the recruitment process. These people-free shifts in the way we acquire talent have positive consequences, particularly for efficiency. But how do we balance the gains in efficiency with the ethical and emotional side of recruiting people into our organisations? With AI and the continuing ‘rise of the robots’, humans are not to be outdone in the battle of the brain – or the heart.

Genome sequencing is becoming cheaper, so more research is being done into which genes do what, including the ones that make us smart. While a Gattaca-style world is a long way off, it does have implications for how we understand intelligence, which seems particularly pertinent during the era where we’re trying to recreate it artificially.

Google have already compared genome sequencing and what it would look like if applied to the way we search and are served information, going as far as to suggest using AI to guide the behaviour of entire populations to solve global problems like poverty and disease.

That sounds pretty nice on paper, but the ethical implications of this are staggering. Not only is there the question of who decides what’s good for the global population, but what if this guiding is being done by an entity that puts no emotion behind it? While this idea was ~supposedly~ just an abstract way to spark creative thought, it does have enough of a Skynet ring to it to make you wonder just how far we should, and will, take AI.

We often consider that the thing that sets humans and AI apart is not just our multi-facetted intelligence, but that it’s combined with fine motor function (a computer is great at playing chess, but not so great at moving the chess piece). But what truly defines a human versus a robot is the emotional intelligence behind it.

Take ethics as an example. We use our intelligence to apply ethical reasoning to a situation, but our emotional intelligence to help us determine how to apply that reasoning. You can intelligently apply ethics to a situation by employing probability and logic, however without emotions behind the decision it can all get a bit cold blooded. Think drone warfare.

There are, however, already innovations in feelings-friendly AI. Facial recognition is being used to understand patterns in expression to determine how information is being received and similarly, voice recognition is being used to detect changes in tone and pitch. In the recruitment space, this technology can be used for video screenings, analysing a candidate’s word choice, tone, and facial movement to determine if they’re the right fit.

But it’s hard to imagine a future where artificial intelligence will also fully encompass artificial emotions. It seems likely that the skills needed for the future workplace will be the soft skills that help us to make logical, ethical and emotionally intelligent decisions. Working with AI rather than competing against it as Robot Liaison Officers and Ethical Technology Advisors. Using AI as a way to free up time to better focus on relationship building.

AI is seeping into all areas of talent acquisition and management, from more emphasis being put on soft skills to future workforce planning. Soft skills in particular are an area where employers can not only start looking to target new talent, but also create value by offering soft skills training and content to help up-skill the future workforce.

The more we understand about our intelligence and how it interacts with our emotional intelligence, and the more prevalent and advanced that AI becomes, it will be interesting to see how it affects the work we do and the people we hire to do it.

Digital Strategist

Meagan is a bookworm and word lover from way back, and enjoys nothing more than a good story. Her role as Digital Strategist at AIA allows her to help clients find their own passion for words – in the form of content strategies and social media. Whether telling a story through social content or metrics and data, Meagan’s hunger for figuring out the who, what, when, where and why is almost as insatiable as her enthusiasm for brunch.

Chat books, breakfast and social strategies with Meagan on Twitter.