HRIntelligencer V2.21

On June 12, 2018, in HR Intelligencer, HRExaminer, John Sumser, by John Sumser
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This Week

All of the ‘intelligent software’ tools I’ve seen ignore a fundamental aspect of the firms they hope to serve. Here’s a bit from Coase’s theory of the firm in a recent issue of the Economist:

“firms are a response to the high cost of using markets. It is often cheaper to direct tasks by fiat than to negotiate and enforce separate contracts for every transaction. Such “exchange costs” are low in markets for standardized goods, wrote Coase. A well-defined task can easily be put out to the market, where a contractor is paid a fixed sum for doing it. The firm comes into its own when simple contracts of this kind will not suffice. Instead, an employee agrees to follow varied and changing instructions, up to agreed limits, for a fixed salary.”

Let me underline the money quote:

“an employee agrees to follow varied and changing instructions, up to agreed limits, for a fixed salary”

Meanwhile, AI systems spend their time looking for refinements to a repeatable rule set. The difference between these two notions is exactly where human value matters.

– John Sumser


Big Picture


  • AI at Google: our principles. A set of working principles from Google. Reads somewhat like ‘things we don’t want to work on. But, it’s a starting point. Expect that most orgsanizations will see the need to publish a similar policy (like a privacy policy) on the ethical usage of intelligent technologies that is specific to their firm.
  • Why The Future of Machine Learning is Tiny. Read this to get a sense of how a great product designer thinks about the future. It’s clear that we still don’t have a solid grasp on what’s happening and where it will head. The writer imagines a near future in which everythin that has a microcontoller (and there are hundreds of billions of them) will have a simple interface that it learns with. What would it mean if everything in your eyesight was an object that learned?


HR’s View





  • Data in the Driver’s Seat: Companies are using artificial intelligence and automation to unlock data, thereby making talent acquisition more efficient and candidate-friendly.





Quote of the Week


“While many people fear that automation will reduce the number of jobs for humans, we note that the diffusion of AI will take time. The need for basic cognitive skills as well as physical and manual skills will not disappear. In fact, physical and manual skills will remain the largest skill category in many countries by hours worked, but with different importance across countries. In France and the United Kingdom, for example, manual skills will be overtaken by demand for social and emotional skills, while in Germany, higher cognitive skills will become preeminent. These country differences are the result of different industry mixes in each country, which in turn affect the automation potential of economies and the future skills mix. While we based our estimates on the automation potential of sectors and countries today, this could change depending on the pace and enthusiasm with which AI is adopted in companies, sectors, and countries. Already, it is clear that China is moving rapidly to become a leading AI player, and Asia as a whole is ahead of Europe in the volume of AI investment..


Companies We Talked To Last Week


  • Cornerstone On Demand: Annual Users Conference, Learning, Recruiting System Improvements, AI, Intelligent Software
  • Equifax Workforce Solutions: AI, Data, Security, Intelligent Software
  • GoHire:  Chatbots, Universal Messaging, AI, Intelligent Software
  • IBM: Talent MAnagement, Assessment, Recruiting, Watson, Cornerstone Integration, A, Intelligent Software
  • OneModel: Data Models, Workbench, Portability, AI, Intelligent Software
  • Koru: Predictive Hiring for Fit, Values, Assessment, AI, Intelligent Software



Curate means a variety of things: from the work of vicar entrusted with the care of souls to that of an exhibit designer responsible for clarity and meaning. At the core, it means something about the importance of empathy in organization. HRIntelligencer is an update on the comings and goings in the Human Resource experiment with Artificial Intelligence, Digital Employees, Algorithms, Machine Learning, Big Data and all of that stuff. We present a few critical links with some explanation. The goal is to give you a way to surf the rapidly evolving field without drowning in information. We offer a timeless curation of the intersection of HR and the machines that serve it. We curate the emergence of Machine Led Decision Making in HR.


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