Job Board Journalist: Two (Contradictory) Truisms About AI

Peter Weddle

There are two diametrically opposed truisms standing side-by-side in today’s AI skunkworks, garages and corporate development centers. For job boards and other talent acquisition technology companies, it’s the equivalent of all those scientific reports we get on what’s good for us and what’s not. Today, one august publication will announce that coffee or alcohol or hamburgers are in; tomorrow, an equally august journal will opine that they’re out. So, what’s a business leader to do?

On the one hand, there’s the much-celebrated AI hype bubble. In fact, Gartner has once again put machine learning and deep learning at the top of its annual hype cycle. There’s been plenty of finger-wagging at techno-evangelists and over-caffeinated Silicon Valley salespeople, and with some justification. If you believe these guys, life on planet Earth or just the field of recruiting is about to be fundamentally reset.

And, on the other hand, there’s this from Ray Kurzweil, an inductee in the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the recipient of the National Medal of Technology; the Dickson Prize, Carnegie Mellon’s top science prize; and the Grace Murray Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery – in other words, hardly a guy prone to exaggeration:

“An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the commonsense ‘intuitive linear’ view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The ‘returns’, such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. [It will be] technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.”

If Kurzweil is right, we are probably under-imagining what AI will be doing by 2118. Okay, but what about today? What does that mean for the folks running solutions companies in 2018? Is AI hype or history in the making?

As with all those healthy living reports, it’s both. AI will profoundly change recruiting. There’s absolutely no question about that. And because that’s so, it will also profoundly reshape the recruiting technology business. Job boards, social media sites, job search engines, ATS companies, recruitment advertising agencies, programmatic platforms, candidate communications providers, recruitment marketing companies – all will experience radical shifts in their markets and in their economic models.

Will it happen tomorrow? Nope. Will it happen two years from now? Or, how about in two decades?

There’s only one way to know. Build situational awareness. As I explain in Circa 2118: What Humans Will do When Machines Take Over:

“That doesn’t mean we need to acquire the ability to program algorithms or create data taxonomies or develop neural networks. Situational awareness doesn’t involve teaching machines how to think like humans or to understand the vagaries of human speech. Rather, it is the process of proactively searching out, analyzing and adapting as necessary to the impacts those developments are having on the world around us. We have to figure out, based on the best available information, how our work and workplace are being affected, in the present, the near-to-mid-term, and in the years beyond that.”

How do we acquire situational awareness? There are, of course, a range of sources, but the one that is likely to be the least theoretical and the most grounded in where the rubber meets the road in the marketplace is our peers. Not the hucksters, but the thoughtful analysts and researchers who are peering over the shoulders of those programming the algorithms and structuring the neural networks.

One such person is Raghav Singh at Korn Ferry. He’ll be presenting a session on The State of AI & Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition at the TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum on September 25-27, 2018 in New Orleans. Nobody’s crystal ball is perfect, but his insights can be a good start on building situational awareness.

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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