This post is the first in a three-part series examining the use of AI in Human Resources.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already a key feature in many people’s lives, including at work. While some AI platforms have been around for years, highly advanced intelligence platforms, such as ChatGPT, could become ubiquitous in research and problem solving-based work environments. Such platforms are still in their early stages, like the Internet was in the 1980s, but they are learning and developing each day and, like the Internet, could become fundamental parts of daily life, especially at work.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
AI is computer intelligence input with data sets used to detect patterns and solve problems. AI is now common in everyday life in devices and programs like Alexa and Siri, which use human interference to perform specific tasks. Programs like ChatGPT – generally called “generative AI” – are capable of performing complicated research, drafting letters and even writing TV episodes and music. These programs could be an integral part of life in and outside the workplace in the not-so-distant future.
How Do Companies Use AI?
Human Resources Departments at a wide variety of companies currently use AI in several ways, including recruitment and performance management, as well as decision-making and customer service more broadly:
Potential Problems With AI
Artificial intelligence does not exist in a vacuum. It is created by (imperfect) humans and thus carries risks. Some significant risks associated with AI in the workplace are:
The humans creating and coding the artificial intelligence may input their own conscious or unconscious biases, or they may not think to safeguard against certain biases the AI develops.
Tech companies, who may receive more resumes from men than women, have scrapped the use of AI resume review when it revealed that the AI penalized resumes using the words “woman” or “women,” as in “women’s chess club.” The same could happen with words and phrases associated with other protected classes.
Similarly, AI is used to conduct phone interviews, and, without appropriately correcting for biases, could be subject to preferring certain voice inflections and response times associated with gender, race, national origin, age or disability.
AI can pose a risk to employee privacy if not implemented correctly. AI-powered tools may collect and analyze employee data, including personal information, performance metrics, and communication logs. Companies should ensure that this data is collected and stored securely and that employee privacy rights are protected.
The potential of AI is exciting, and it will likely make work much more efficient for employers and employees in the future. Still, there are many risks associated with AI. Below are some best practices for mitigating these risks:
Part II in this series will focus on legal conflicts companies are experiencing with AI and how to mitigate them, and Part III will focus on what companies should know about ChatGPT and other generative AI programs while navigating the future of AI.
If you have questions or would like more information about the topics raised in this post, please contact a member of Gould & Ratner’s Human Resources and Employment Law Practice.