Fortune 500 human resource departments have subscribed to a “smart employer” service that evaluates a person’s suitability for workplace cultures and stress levels, using public social media posts and “likes.” Algorithms can identify individuals likely suffering from various mental illnesses, from depression to sociopathy. The service also predicts who may develop symptoms of mental illness in the near future, based on trends in the individuals’ postings. This data is used to offer support and resources to current employees, recommend reassignment when necessary, and make hiring decisions.
–from Forecasting Skills: See the Future Before it Happens course by Institute for the Future
The Institute for the Future presented some guide questions to keep the conversation going. Here are my responses:
What new things might happen in this future, that can’t happen today?
A technology like this might remove biases but, at the same time, might create new ones. Passing through the hiring process will also be like preparing for a standardized test; you need to study how the technology works and exploit its loopholes, if there are any.
This might also give rise to review centers focusing on how to pass through the AI-augmented hiring process.
And with this kind of service, you can also filter out the people you think are not fit for the job opening. There’s no need to stalk them through their social media accounts since the AI will do it for you.
What would you be excited about in this future?
I am excited (as an employee) to be found by the job where I am finally culture-fit.
What would you worry about in this future?
I worry about discrimination and data privacy in this future. As an applicant, I feel like my whole being will be converted to binary, making me less human. It’ll also be easy to dehumanize me and trap me in my past just because of the online historical data about me.
And because the smart-employer service can propose who you might become based on your historical online presence, you may feel sentenced with a future you don’t approve or even see possible.
Who benefits in this future?
Companies who want the best of the crop will significantly benefit in the future.
Those who have built an impressive online presence will also be at an advantage.
Who is at a disadvantage in this future?
Those who have undergone depression will be at a disadvantage in this future. Why? Because the AI is programmed to weed out the people who have such tendencies early on in the process.
People who established an online presence that is not “workplace-ready,” “AI-ready,” or “SEO optimized” are also at a disadvantage.
Do you share the same sentiments like I do? Let’s keep the conversation going! Feel free to message me here or share this post with a friend.
To read more about this kind of future, here’s an article from Forbes on the legal implications of using AI in the hiring process.
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