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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is like the Industrial Revolution on steroids. It is poised to transform virtually every industry on a scale that will leave many people breathless. The human resources profession is no exception. Here are five ways AI (defined as an intelligent machine that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal) will impact HR in the near future:

  • Faster Candidate Screening. The Cleveland Clinic, Mount Sinai and MD Anderson Cancer Center are already using IBM’s Watson (which uses a powerful type of AI) to rapidly, accurately and affordably diagnose complex cancers. In this same way, innovative HR departments will soon leverage AI to streamline the screening process. Imagine reducing the time it takes to find and interview the “perfect” candidate from days down to hours. Soon that will be possible thanks to AI.
  • Better Recruitment Practices. In March 2016, Google’s Alpha Go, an AI system designed to play the ancient Chinese board game Go, defeated one of the world’s best players. In a quirky move-now dubbed “Move 37”-the AI system played a move so unconventional that it left its human opponent, Lee Sedol, thinking the machine had made an amateur error. Only a few moves later did the brilliance of the move become apparent and Alpha Go went on to win the game. In the future, prudent HR managers will employ AI to similarly identify unconventional candidates who can not only help them look brilliant but also help their companies achieve great victories.
  • Eliminate Biases. In many large corporations, the board of directors still lacks diversity. As a result, these boards sometimes experience “groupthink.” To alleviate this problem, an innovative Hong Kong venture capital firm recently added an AI to its board of directors. The reason was not to replace the board, but rather to help them “see what they’re not seeing,” ask those questions that aren’t being asked, and to challenge basic assumptions. Farsighted HR departments and managers will soon utilize AI in a similar capacity. It is human nature to want to hire people that remind us of ourselves. AI doesn’t have this same bias and can, therefore, help bring true diversity-and its inherent benefits-into companies, large and small.
  • Enhance Productivity. The Amazon Echo is not yet two years old and already hospitals have figured out how to use the AI platform to enhance the productivity of nurses by five to ten percent. The Echo does this by freeing nurses from having to spend precious time answering basic patient questions (e.g. when are meals being served, when will they be discharged) Many human resources professionals also spend a fair amount of time answering simple questions about sick leave, FMLA, benefits coverage and vacation time. Soon, AI “chatbots” will handle these simple questions and allow HR professionals to focus on only the most important and complex issues.
  • Make You Smarter. Tesla, which recently surpassed General Motors to become the most valuable car company in America, now embeds AI into every automobile it manufactures. This not only results in each car becoming smarter after it leaves the show floor, it actually increases the value of the automobile over time because the car becomes safer. In this same way, AI will make HR personnel smarter by helping identify which employee needs what training, and when. And once it has done this, AI will help deliver personalized training modules to those employees.

AI will, of course, do a lot more than these five things. It will also help with scheduling, workflow automation, and the onboarding process-among other things. The time is now to AI put into the middle of HR (HAIR). The advance of AI might feel a little scary and intimidating, but those who embrace it and adapt will be experiencing a lot of good “HAIR” days in the future!