How AI Can Support the World of Work

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

On the surface of things, preparing for the integration of AI into the world of work sounds formidable. While we might have reservations concerning its integration, a more helpful question should center on how we might apply AI to improve our own capabilities — and in turn the the capabilities of organizations to do great work. One path is to address issues in our work that are quintessentially human.

Bias is one frailty that we might consider here. Most of us would concede that as human beings, we are prone to biases that lead to less informed decisions. In this case, AI might address our shortcomings and improve our performance.

As Erik Brynjolffson of MIT points out in a recent HBR interview:

“…the benchmark for most entrepreneurs and managers is: who’s going to be better for solving this particular task or better yet can we create a system that combines the strengths of both humans and machines and does something better than either of them would do individually.”

Interestingly there has progress in AI’s application to both HR and work life in general. Here are just a few topics that I’ve noticed:

  • Conversations & Chatbots. In the HR world, chatbots can be utilized to address and improve vital aspects of the employee experience. Chatbots have the potential to support essential conversations within on-boarding and coaching,  helping HR departments to meet their ultimate goal of supporting contributors. (See how AI has also impacted “summer melt”, where students fail to matriculate in college settings here.)
  • Job listings. A better informed candidate — one that has ample information to determine potential fit — is the first step to secure the right the role. The augmented writing platform Textio for example, utilizes AI to improve the quality of information within job postings, potentially reducing bias and attracting a broader, more diverse pool of applicants.
  • Better Interviews. Google has developed the automated tool qDroid, using the seminal meta-analytic selection research completed by Frank Schmidt and John Hunter. (Their work illustrated that a work sample was the best predictor of candidate success, followed by tests of cognitive ability and structured interviews.) The tool generates behaviorally based questions, specifically tailored to the job in question.

We shouldn’t overlook the fact that a mindset embracing progress, will hasten the integration of AI into the world of work. Taking a moment to consider possible applications of AI is the best place to begin. In fact, it is possible for organizations to utilize AI at little or no cost. (See the access options to Watson here.) For organizations without a skilled data analyst on hand or may not require one on a full-time basis, this type of access can become vital.

Not unlike Andrew McCaffe’s 2011 discussion of Enterprise 2.0, the deciding factor for AI rests in the following:

“During times of great business change, two fundamental questions are: what kinds of companies are able to make the transition, and what happens when they do?”

Has your organization embraced AI? How has it impacted the work at hand?

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.


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