The human brain is what truly powers artificial intelligence

2 April 2018
By Laurence Dumont, PhD

Artificial intelligence marks the dawn of a new revolution, one that will notably affect the job market. Each day, dozens of software applications and services based on AI find their way onto the market. But what real challenges and opportunities does artificial intelligence have in store for human capital management?

Human challenges

Various technical difficulties are associated with the creation of artificial intelligence algorithms, such as the immense computing power needed to sustain deep learning across enormous databases. Further difficulties, such as the need to consider the human aspect when creating these algorithms, are also faced. Indeed, even if the human intentions behind an algorithm are positive, machine learning can sometimes generate undesirable consequences.

This was the case with a decision-making software used by the United States justice system. The goal of the software was to help judges make more objective rulings by assigning a rating to defendants based on their risk of re-offending. However, the algorithm was shown to have a strong ethnic bias.

How is this possible? Algorithms are created and fed data by humans. They therefore tend to reproduce past decisional biases, especially when the human aspect wasn’t factored into their design.

Opportunities in human capital management

The applications of AI in human capital management are numerous. One example is the ability to predict how employees will develop within an organization. This is possible thanks to algorithms capable of inferring trends from data generated by performance evaluations and employee satisfaction measures, among others.

In a context of talent shortage, the use of AI to optimize human capital management is a soon-to-be essential performance lever.

However, several challenges can be expected. For example, applying AI to the talent management process will raise issues similar to those seen in the justice system. Data from the past display biases against hiring women in certain sectors and positions—a glass ceiling in their development within organizations—as well as various ethnic biases.

Until AI experts find solutions to encourage diversity and inclusivity in business, human resource departments will need to act as barriers against these biases by developing control systems.

Contributions of neuroscience

Preventing AI from recreating human errors due to biased algorithms necessitates a deep understanding of both the inner workings of the human brain and its reasoning and decision-making mechanisms.

This type of knowledge stems from the field of neuroscience. It can help us better understand the source of biases that are present in databases, in addition to supporting HR decision-makers in their interpretation and contextualization of the results obtained from to AI technology.

Experts in neuroscience are therefore strategic allies in human capital management at the dawn of the AI revolution. In the end, the human brain is the true driver of artificial intelligence.

The team at nev can support your efforts in developing and maintaining a smart, rigorous and inclusive recruiting program through our consulting and data analytics services. Contact us for a free needs assessment.