In 1973, against the backdrop of space fever that swept the nation following the successful Apollo moon landing, a new TV show took science fiction to new heights. Depicting astronaut Steve Austin’s transformation from human into cyborg, “The Six Million Dollar Man” and its spinoff series “The Bionic Woman” captivated audiences with their extraordinary portrayal of human-machine potential. At the heart of each show was a bold promise: that scientists could engineer a human hybrid that was “better, stronger, faster.”
Today, a push toward a technology-infused future is taking center stage. Except this time, it’s not fiction. Artificial intelligence (AI) is augmenting human capabilities at an incredible pace, foregrounding a new revolution in the way we work and solve society’s biggest challenges. With so much on the line, I’ve found myself wondering, what does a world powered by AI look like? What role is AI going to play in recruitment? And what role should leaders have in influencing the future of this technology for our industry?
There’s no doubt that AI has to potential to transform the way we work, recruit and engage talent — but at what cost?
As chief sales officer for the ActOne Group with responsibility for sales direction inclusive of AgileOne, I’ve spent my career studying emerging technologies to better understand how they may impact the workforce solutions industry. While slowing the pace of technological progress is not the answer, we do have a moral and social responsibility to ensure tools like AI are ethically and responsibly integrated into how we work.
Here are three conclusions I’ve reached and what they mean for leaders in the workforce solutions industry:
Diversity is critical to the future of AI. While undeniably brilliant, today’s AI systems lack the ability to make ethical decisions. We must approach AI with a healthy dose of skepticism, recognizing that the technology, which is influenced by human interaction, is susceptible to the same bias that is present in our society today. Developers have spent decades trying to achieve fairness in AI, including preprocessing data and altering outputs to account for bias — and even incorporating definitions of fairness into AI training processes.
It’s important to remember that many AI tools are still undergoing beta testing. Recruiters should view AI as just one resource in a portfolio of systems that must be balanced to ensure equity in hiring. Addressing the issue of bias in AI is both our leadership responsibility and that of developers to further integrate DE&I principles during the design and testing of AI tools.
We must define a shared ethical understanding. As AI becomes more integrated into various aspects of human life, misuse of AI can occur creating the potential for unauthorized data collection, surveillance, monopolistic practices and skewed information that influences decision-making. Ensuring the ethical use of any technology is crucial for promoting equity and safeguarding fundamental human rights—especially in the business of employing people.
I can’t stress the importance of responsible AI (RAI) enough. Eighty-four percent of organizations view RAI as a “top management issue.” However, less than a quarter of organizations have implemented an RAI program, indicating there’s plenty of ground to be gained when developing AI centered on ethics, transparency, and accountability. Organizations must also balance the potential security risks of AI tools like ChatGPT. At a minimum, users should avoid generative AI for sensitive tasks, which could open the possibility for employee and company data to be exposed to bad actors — and even competitors.
Human-to-human connection matters more than ever. We can all agree that while technology was a transformational resource that enabled us during Covid-19, the human connection also matters. We are in the business of connecting people to meaningful careers, so we must find the right balance that leverages technology to improve the way we work while also continuing to give people a sense of purpose. These choices we make today will impact generations to come.
At the ActOne Group, people are the heart of everything we do. By combining the opportunities and perspectives unique to humans with the optimization of technology, we can evolve as a society and industry — ensuring the connection between people and technology is truly meaningful.