11th June 2023

As fears over AI hot up the industry must act to enshrine RecTech fairness

AI, Recruitment

Godfather’s of AI speak out about the ‘problem child’

The A.M. Turing Award, sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” was named in honour of Alan Mathison Turing, the brilliant British mathematician and computer scientist, celebrated and honoured today but who was unfortunately the victim of persecution in his lifetime.

Yoshua Bengio, along with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun, are the three AI “godfathers,” who won the 2018 Turing Prize for computing breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). However, some 5 years on, two of them are having deep misgivings about the technology in which they have invested large parts of their careers.

After Geoffrey Hinton quit Google, he told the BBC in an interview that he “can now just speak freely about what I think the dangers might be”. Yoshua Bengio called processing the potential harm of AI “challenging, emotionally speaking,” especially after building his career around bettering society.

These are key interventions by some of the intellectual ‘owners’ of AI and they feed into the views of many other key players in tech, including Elon Musk.

Some of the sentiments seem to be apocalyptic in nature, paralleling the dark thoughts of J.Robert Oppenheimer in the years after he led the team that developed the atomic fission bomb in the early 1940s, demonstrated to devastating effect at the end of World War II.

Warnings over AI RecTech justified or over reaction to the potential for misuse?

Analysis by Goldman Sachs suggests that up to 300 million people worldwide could lose out as AI-powered software and devices revolutionise the world of work.

Besides AI’s direct impact on the jobs market, AI-powered RecTech is also very much an area that needs to be carefully considered. Some AI RecTech has displayed bias, which undermines the mission of equality which is instrumental to creating a fairer world.

Just like it is impossible to uninvent nuclear weapons, AI is here to stay. Misuse by bad actors such as cyber criminals, terrorist states or those seeking to undermine democratic processes must remain the key areas of concern over AI. Consequently, the overriding need is to exert strong control over how AI systems are trained, who uses them, and for what purposes.

The need for robust government and industry controls

The regulatory race is on as governments around the world attempt to keep up with the rapid development of AI technologies. Recruitment industry leaders need to take control and lead initiatives to ensure that AI RecTech is developed and applied so that it enshrines fairness and eliminates all bias, wherever it is applied as part of the search and selection process.

The leaders of recruitment industry bodies, as well as those that head up recruitment businesses, need to prioritise the ethical use of the technology. Whether it is for sifting through CVs, resumes or application forms, or for analysing candidate interview videos and speech, all suggestions of bias must be eliminated.

With many candidates and workers harbouring negative views on the use of AI within the recruiting process, there is the potential for a negative impact on the recruitment industry.

Given the global talent gap and the difficulty that many companies are experiencing in recruiting the positions necessary to generate growth, the last thing that the sector needs is widespread mistrust amongst the raw material that fuels the recruitment process – candidates.

Streamline your agency back office with ETZ

The automation features of ETZ RecTech tools promote efficiency and have paved the way for the emergence of sophisticated AI NLP search and selection tools that are emerging to power the front side of agency operations.

ETZ’s leading timesheet and invoicing solution streamlines the back office processing of your recruitment agency. Our complementary solutions, ETZ Comply for onboarding and document management and Caspian for business intelligence give agencies further capability to streamline and uncover opportunities. To find out more, call us on 0800 311 2266 or book a demo.



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