- The Recruiting Life
- The End is Near? AI’s Continued Impact on the Job Market
The End is Near? AI’s Continued Impact on the Job Market
AI's Impact on Jobs Might Not Be as Bad as Some People Think
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When given the choice, companies will opt for technology over hiring new workers.
I asked the following on LinkedIn earlier this week:
Although my poll is not over, there is a definite trend so far. Sigh.
What do you think of the poll results? Reply back and I may mention your comments in the next newsletter.
The End is Near? AI’s Continued Impact on the Job Market
Despite the strike in Hollywood, the studios are all in on AI and showing preference to employing technology more than hiring human workers. Doubt me? Netflix recently posted an AI Product Manager job that pays as much as $900,000.00. The striking Hollywood workers were not pleased to hear that. To quote The Intercept…
What’s going on in Hollywood is just one instance in a growing trend. Suumit Shah, CEO of Dukaan, fired 90 percent of his company’s customer support staff after arguing that an AI chatbot had outperformed them.
"Suumit Shah, a 31-year-old CEO of an e-commerce platform called Dukaan based in India, is getting torn to shreds online for firing 90 percent of the company's customer support staff after arguing that an AI chatbot had outperformed them."
— Jim Stroud (@jimstroud)
Jul 31, 2023
Another example, Insider laid off 10% of its staff a week after they made a pivot towards AI. Futurism reported on this, saying…
One more sample of how things are going is evident in Waymo. Although they are slowing down their autonomous trucking program, they are moving forward with an automated taxi fleet, thus putting Uber and Lyft drivers on notice.
That general feeling of technophobia you may be feeling is something American workers have felt before. The cycle tends to be 1) a transformative technology debuts, 2) it is greeted with a mix of wonder and fear, 3) old jobs are replaced by new occupations, and 4) people adapt and progress forward. It’s happened time and time again; most notably…
Industrial Revolution (late 18th to early 19th century): The mechanization of industries during the Industrial Revolution led to the displacement of many artisanal and agrarian jobs, while creating new opportunities in manufacturing and urban centers.
Computer Revolution (mid-20th century): The advent of computers and the digital revolution changed how work was done, leading to the automation of various tasks, particularly in administrative roles and data processing.
Internet and E-Commerce (late 20th to early 21st century): The rise of the internet and e-commerce disrupted traditional retail and supply chain industries, impacting brick-and-mortar stores and creating new opportunities in online retail and tech-related roles.
Robotics and Automation (late 20th to early 21st century): The integration of robotics and automation in manufacturing has led to job displacement in some industries but also created new roles in robotics programming and maintenance.
All that being said, what’s happening today with artificial intelligence feels kind of… different. The speed of change happening with AI feels dizzying and overall, people have mixed feelings about it. A survey conducted by Ipsos in April 2023 found that 71% of respondents expressed concern about the impact of AI on jobs and society. The Ipsos survey also revealed that the views on AI are mixed, with nearly the same share of Americans viewing AI favorably (39%) as unfavorably (43%). The overwhelming majority of Americans – more than eight in 10 – agree that AI and/or robots should be carefully managed according to research from the Center of Governance of AI. The same research body found that more Americans support than oppose developing AI although said support was cited as being greater among those who are wealthy, educated, male, or have experience with technology.
So, what does this mean for society overall? What happens when a large percentage of workers are displaced by AI at the same time? I can imagine a couple of things happening, the government steps in and slows down the commercial adoption of AI or we start seeing a proliferation of social safety nets. Actually, I think both will happen, especially since I am already seeing signs of both. As far as the government slowing down commercial adoption, I see it happening (somewhat) with regulation. Take for example the “No Robot Bosses Act” in Congress. It is a proposed legislation that aims to regulate the use of automated decision systems throughout the employment life cycle. The bill would bar employers from relying solely on automated systems like algorithms and machine learning to make decisions about hiring, firing, or managing employees. The key provisions of the No Robot Bosses Act include:
Pre-deployment and periodic testing and validation: This is to prevent unlawful biases in automated decision systems.
Operational training: This is to ensure that employees are trained to use automated decision systems effectively.
Mandate independent, human oversight before using outputs: This is to ensure that there is human oversight before decisions made by automated decision systems are implemented.
Require timely disclosures of use, data inputs and outputs, and employee rights with respect to the decisions: This is to ensure that employees are aware of how automated decision systems are being used and how they can challenge decisions made by these systems.
The No Robot Bosses Act, if passed into law, would have an impact on small businesses. This is highly significant as 99.9% of all US businesses are small businesses and they may all face additional costs associated with complying with the requirements of the No Robot Bosses Act. This could include expenses related to pre-deployment testing and validation of automated decision systems, operational training for employees, and ensuring independent human oversight before implementing decisions made by automated systems. As of August 1, 2023, the No Robot Bosses Act is proposed legislation that has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Bob Casey and is in the early stages of the legislative process. (I’m not an expert on legislation, but it sounds to me a lot like Local Law 144, a NY law that calls for 3rd party auditing of AI tools used in hiring workers.) But I digress.
Regulation may slow down (a little bit) the encroachment of AI tools displacing workers. The question is, will it slow things down fast enough for American workers to catch up? There are some programs currently in place to help that along. For example, the American AI Initiative announced by President Trump is aimed at retraining workers who are at risk of losing their jobs to AI and the US trade program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance provides benefits and support to workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade competition. While not specifically targeted at AI-related job displacement, it can potentially assist workers affected by technological advancements.
While I recognize the benefit of government intervention in this case, I think there is an additional option for consideration. Perhaps companies that are innovating with AI can create jobs faster than they displace workers? Is that possible? Yes, in fact, it happened more than once before. A few examples…
Automobile Industry (early 20th century): The introduction of the automobile led to job displacement in the horse-drawn carriage industry and related sectors. However, the growth of the automobile industry itself created a vast number of new jobs, such as assembly line workers, mechanics, and auto salespeople.
Information Technology Revolution (late 20th century): The widespread adoption of computers and information technology disrupted some traditional job roles, but it also led to the creation of new jobs in software development, IT support, data analysis, and other technology-related fields.
Renewable Energy Sector (ongoing): The growth of the renewable energy sector, such as solar and wind energy, has created jobs in installation, maintenance, research, and development, offsetting some job displacement in traditional fossil fuel industries.
How could this translate into opportunities related to AI? Well, best case scenario, AI adoption can lead to the emergence of entirely new industries, creating job opportunities that were not previously envisioned. For example, AI-driven technologies might give rise to new fields like AI ethics consulting, AI software development, and AI-related research. The adoption of AI by companies can lead to a demand for supporting industries, such as AI hardware manufacturing, AI consulting firms, and AI data annotation services, which can create new jobs. And my personal favorite, AI technologies lower barriers to entry for startups, allowing entrepreneurs to create new businesses and ventures that generate jobs.
To sum it all up, the rapid advancement of AI is undoubtedly reshaping the job market and raising legitimate concerns about job displacement. The recent examples of AI’s impact on industries like Hollywood and tech companies undergoing layoffs highlight the urgency to address the challenges posed by this world-changing technology. While history has shown that technological advancements can create new opportunities, the unique speed and scale of AI’s impact require proactive measures. Government intervention through regulations and retraining programs can mitigate potential negative consequences, while companies that embrace AI innovation have the potential to create new jobs and foster emerging fields. By carefully navigating these interesting times, society can harness AI’s potential for positive change while ensuring a future of work everyone can appreciate.
The Next HR Tech Trend I Want to See: Chatbots with Feelings
Okay, this is more of a gut-level prediction than a presentation of facts but, I don’t think I’m too far off. Meta is working on releasing new chatbots with unique personalities to increase engagement on its platform. The Financial Times reported on this.
I think any move Meta makes to better engage and retain their users is a good move for them, especially when they have stiff competition from the likes of TikTok. Although Meta has 2.9 billion monthly active users, TikTok has 1 billion and still growing. Unless TikTok does the same thing or better, and soon, persona-driven chatbots will be huge on the Meta platform. Why do I think that? I think that because of the monumental success of Character.ai.
For those that don’t know, Character.ai is an artificial intelligence chatbot that allows users to chat with fictional, historical, and celebrity figures in a dialogue. Unlike other AI chatbots, Character.ai's output is more human-like and allows you to chat with more than one bot at a time, offering different perspectives. One of the unique features of Character.ai is the ability to interact with a wide range of characters, including historical figures (both living and deceased), as well as user-generated chatbots with distinct personalities. Its deep machine-learning process allows users to experience authentic conversations where it's difficult to tell you're chatting with a computer.
Now check out the tweet below and see if you noticed what jumped out to me; simply amazing.
character ai growth seems... unprecedented? Maybe reminiscent of Facebook and Instagram growth?
• 280 million web visits last month
• Growing 60% month-over-month
• Nearly 30 min avg session duration
— Zack Hargett (@zackhargett)
Jun 28, 2023
Nearly 30-minute average session duration?! What?! Once I saw that stat, I could not help but wonder how long it would be before companies are experimenting with persona driven chatbots and including them in their recruitment processes. Imagine scenarios where passive candidates engage with a chatbot version of the CEO and asked it questions about the company culture? What if passive candidates could interact with a chatbot they can relate to? Maybe the chatbot character looks like them or, has funny stories about the founders’ early days or, can geek out on discussing patents the company has been awarded?
Now imagine a passive candidate chatting away with the AI chatbot for 30 minutes, completely enthralled with the discussion. During this time, they are developing a stronger affinity for the company which boosts the employer brand, especially when they share the experience with others who want to share in the delight themselves. (Hmm… Maybe add a Spotify list and keep them vibing on your employer brand even more?)
Of course, this is all a blue-sky opinion. It would be foolish not to consider the negative possibilities as cited in the same Financial Times article I quoted earlier.
Could a chatbot nudge a passive candidate to apply for a job? Could it manipulate a candidate into referring a job to their network of contacts? And if it could, would that be unethical? And if it is, how? Isn’t that what human recruiters do when engaging with candidates every day? Despite the success I think this approach would bring, I think companies will have to be careful. Pending regulation like the “No Robot Bosses Act” and laws like NY Local Law 144 aim to regulate the use of automated decision systems throughout the employment life cycle and that will have a definite impact on persona-driven chatbots. The specific impact I cannot say.
Regardless, I still hope for a future where chatbots in the recruiting space are more engaging with larger-than-life personalities that passive candidates can identify with. I really think it could bolster an employer brand to legendary status. (As inspiration, read this chatbot case study on how Disney used a chatbot to promote their movie – Zootopia.) But I digress. More often than not, HR chatbots are sterile, milktoast and safe and I understand why. I can’t help it. I just want more, especially if you are trying to recruit me. Maybe, possibly, one day, it will be a HR tech trend. I hope it happens soon.
The Jim Stroud Podcast
What happens when a large percentage of workers are displaced by AI at the same time? Most likely, government intervention, which means regulation, lots and lots of regulation. In fact, its already starting to happen. I am speaking of the No Robot Bosses Act making its way through Congress. I discuss the bill and what it may mean for small businesses in this episode.
The Jim Stroud Show
Discover the shocking truth about ChatGPT and HR Tech security in this eye-opening video. Learn about the rampant hacking and data breaches affecting ChatGPT accounts and HR technology tools. Find out how to protect your personal data and what steps your employer should be taking. Don't miss this crucial video for safeguarding your information! 🔒💻
In this thought-provoking video, we delve into the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the hiring process and the contrasting opinions of candidates. With fascinating insights from a recent Pew Research study, we explore the concerns and reservations surrounding AI's role in making final hiring decisions, tracking productivity, and invading privacy.
Amazon is facing an $8B/year problem.
• ~75% of employees leave the company
• Only 1/3 of new hires stay for >90 days
• 100% employee turnover in warehouses (double the industry average)
But it gets even worse.
Let me explain:
— Codie Sanchez (@Codie_Sanchez)
Aug 2, 2023
One last thing...
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