Why Artificial Intelligence Needs to Be Balanced With Human Intelligence In HR


At the end of the day, despite advances and potential of artificial intelligence and automation, a successful approach to HR still needs a human touch. 

Much has been written about the potential applications of artificial intelligence and automation in human resources. Both certainly have some remarkable applications and a great deal of potential. Thing is, they can also do a lot more harm than good. Here’s why, at the end of the day, a successful approach to HR still needs a human touch. 

Questionnaires designed to weed out unsuitable applicants. Automated systems that pore over a prospective hire’s resume and digital accounts to see if they’ll be a good fit. Self-service helpdesks and chatbots. Performance monitoring software that streamlines job evaluations like never before.

Artificial intelligence brings a lot to the table for human resources. A wealth of technological innovations that promise to revolutionize personnel management, talent acquisition, and onboarding in ways we never expected. Even in the face of such obvious good, many can’t help but worry that such systems will inevitably replace humans.Opens a new window  

They worry that as machine learning grows more advanced and artificial intelligence gets better at mimicking human intelligence, we’ll eventually become obsolete. This isn’t a fear limited solely to human resources, either. It’s prevalent in fields ranging from manufacturing to creative work. 

On the other side of the coin, you’ve decision-makers who approach AI like an overexcited five-year-old in a candy store.

Everything must be automated. In their eyes, there’s no such thing as too much AI.

Both these camps have one thing in common – they place far too much stock in artificial intelligence, and they lack an understanding of what machine learning actually entails. Maybe one day, we will see some sort of robot uprising. I doubt, however, that it will be within any of our lifetimes.

Artificial intelligence, no matter how formidable it becomes, is fundamentally different from human intelligenceOpens a new window . It’s great at data analysis, at generating insights that might be near-impossible for humans to see. But it can’t really understand those insightsOpens a new window . 

A system created through machine learning is not capable of intuition or subjective thought, but can only act based on the objective data placed before it. The greatest strength of AI, from a human resources perspective, is also its greatest weakness. It can analyze data without bias because it is incapable of bias. 

Humans, meanwhile, lean more towards subjective thought. Our decisions are colored by our own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Perhaps more importantly, we’re able to pick up on things a machine might ignore-able, for example, to recognize certain behaviors as red flags that might go undetected in an entirely automated hiring process. 

Let’s say your business is looking to bring in a new Chief Information Officer. After posting a job listing, your HR platform sifts through each potential applicant based on a set of criteria you established in advance. Eventually, it creates a shortlist of three candidates.

On paper, the first is the best choice.

However, when you meet the three candidates in-person, the first candidate simply rubs you the wrong way. You can’t quite place your finger on it, but something is off about him. In spite of his credentials, you move on to the next candidate. 
You later find out he was convicted of corporate espionage at the company that eventually did hire him. 

That’s an extreme example, of course. But it demonstrates one major shortcoming of overreliance on automation. Machines can be fooled – and sometimes, they can be fooled more easily than people. 

There are other reasons a human touch is necessary as well, of course. Automated systems can be misconfigured and misapplied – a poorly-implemented hiring platform, for example, could eliminate a host of otherwise promising applicants. A completely-automated HR mediation process would leave all involved parties dissatisfied, and likely leave most issues unresolved.

In short, artificial intelligence is and will continue to be a means of augmenting your HR department. It has the potential to revolutionize how you manage your people, automating a wide range of business processes, reducing hiring bias, and simplifying sourcing and onboarding. However, in order to achieve any of those goals, it cannot be treated as a replacement for HR professionals. 

Rather, it should be seen another tool, one which ultimately leaves more time for the most important HR task of all – human interaction.

Also Read: The Beginner’s Guide to AI in HROpens a new window