Job Board Journalist: Catastrophic Forgetting, Catastrophic Ignoring

Peter Weddle

Catastrophic forgetting is a term used in the development of artificial general intelligence. It describes the as yet unsolved conundrum of how to get machines to learn new practices on top of old ones without losing that prior knowledge. Said another way, machines are not yet able to compute and chew bubble gum at the same time. TA technology companies, on the other hand, can and must accomplish that feat. They have to avoid catastrophic ignoring.

Catastrophic forgetting occurs when AI-based machines are moved from one learned function to another. For example, if you teach a smart machine how to identify a cactus in a desert environment, it will, with almost unfailing accuracy, accomplish that feat over and over again. However, if you then want that same machine to identify a cactus plant in a pot on the desk of someone in the Accounting Department, you will have to teach it how to do that as if it knew nothing at all about cacti. The state-of-the-art is such that the new capability cannot be built on top of what the machine already knows. It must instead overwrite the old knowledge, and as a consequence, the machine forgets what it formerly knew.

While this inability to do two things at once limits the current applications of AI-based technology, it does not threaten the usefulness of the technology itself. There are lots of smart chatbots, recruitment marketing platforms and applicant tracking systems which can perform one function very well, and that capability has value in the marketplace.

The same cannot be said of catastrophic ignoring. This “fault” occurs when a TA solutions enterprise is unable (or unwilling) to perform two essential tasks at the same time. It doesn’t tend to business and deliver profits at the bottom line AND also stay on top of the emerging threats and new ideas that could impact that success down the road. It can’t or won’t deal with today’s and tomorrow’s issues simultaneously.

So, what happens? For obvious reasons, most companies focus on what will affect their prosperity in the near term and ignore altogether what could potentially affect them in the mid-to-long term. They expend all of their time and resources on this year’s sales and turn a blind eye to next year’s perils and possibilities. It’s a logical strategy, of course – there is no next year without profitability this year – but in the ever-changing marketplace of the TA technology industry, it’s also a catastrophe in-the-making.

Solutions companies don’t have the luxury of standing pat; this year’s success is absolutely no guarantee that next year will be similarly successful. Why? Because next year’s marketplace will be altered by the technologies and players being introduced this year. The only way to preserve viability, therefore, is to commit to proactive discovering. Solutions companies have to see themselves as works-in-progress, always uncovering, analyzing and, where appropriate, adapting to what’s on the horizon.

How does a job board or other TA solutions company do that? By assigning equal priority to business development and discovery. By constantly:
• reinforcing its relationships with current clients to expand the business it is doing with them and prospecting for new clients that can increase its market share;
while simultaneously
• assessing new products and services coming onto the market and examining the successes of innovative technologies it may be able to leverage.

To help companies avoid catastrophic ignoring and perform proactive discovering, the TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum will present not 1, not 2, but 3 different sessions on new products and services and the successes of innovative technologies:
Case Studies on SpeedDial, four 15-minute sessions that will feature chatbots, programmatic ad buying, text recruiting and recruiting automation;
New Product Demos on SpeedDial, four 15-minute sessions featuring new products from, JobAdX, reThinkData and Uncommon; and
The Chad & Cheese DeathMatch, a competition of early stage companies, including AllyO, Canvas, TalkPush and Uncommon.

AI-based machines may be unable to compute and chew bubble gum at the same time. Solutions companies, in contrast, not only can, they must.

Food for Thought,

TAprose and Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle are brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2018 events include:

• February 12-13, 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on AI/Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition – the only conference totally focused on the capabilities and impact of AI/ML/NLP in recruitment, founded by See you next year!

• March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland: TAtechEurope 2018 – the premier event for recruitment advertising and technology thought & business leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. See you next year!

• April 18-19, 2018 Las Vegas, Nevada USA: The TAtech Spring Congress & Meetup – a unique conference designed to maximize opportunities for B2B networking, trending topic discussions and the exploration of partnerships and business opportunities. See you next year!

• June 5-6, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying – the only conference totally focused on the technology and applications of programmatic ad buying by both publishers and advertisers, founded by Appcast. See you next year!

• September 26-27, 2018 Bourbon Street New Orleans, Louisiana USA: The TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum – the Global Economic Forum of recruiting, this event brings together thought & business leaders from job boards and all other talent acquisition technology solutions companies around the world.


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