Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Recruiters?

4 Min 9 Sec to read

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Lifestyle

The fear of losing jobs to AI, in the minds of human resource (HR) recruiters, was the compelling reason for writing this article. The HR department has the monumental responsibility of sourcing the right people, to ensure that work efficiency and productivity are not compromised. However, in the past few years, the AI bandwagon being portrayed as disruptor of jobs has induced concerns across all sectors, including HR department.

The fear of losing jobs to AI is unwarranted and stems out of ignorance. People fear what they do not understand.

What AI Can Do

Given the exponential rise in computing power, AI systems can process millions of data within seconds and learn from it. For example, Google’s DeepMind AI — AlphaGO — had beaten Lee Sedol, the world champion of GO (A game like chess) in four out of five rounds in 2016. This is because AlphaGO had learnt winning moves by assessing millions of GO games played by people. Now let us consider a job where someone is doing repetitive work, like a data-entry operator at an accountant’s office. This job can be easily replaced by an AI system.

There are monotonous jobs that AI can learn by assessing millions of data that previously existed. Jobs where analytic and creative skills are not required can be replaced by AI. This is evident in some supermarkets, where cashiers have been replaced by automated kiosks. There are robots now for making gourmet hamburgers. People should note that performing repetitive work on a daily basis will eventually lose their jobs to automation.

What AI Cannot Do

The best thing about AI, the ability to learn from millions of data within seconds, is also its drawback. The drawback being it needs to learn from millions of events from the past. Although Google’s AlphaGO beat the world champion Lee Sedol in the game, he can do other things that AlphaGO cannot, like decision making, thinking creatively, etc. Let us assume that AlphaGO spent 10 years with Lee Sedol, by learning his knowledge and experiencing the emotions, this would still be learning from one person and the AI system can’t justify that all humans are like Lee – unlike GO game that has limited set of rules to be followed by all players.

One might argue that with the advent of cloud robotics, where AI systems across the globe interacting and learning from humans, can share data and knowledge across a common platform, that AI will be able to think and act like humans. However, this would be a hypothetical assumption. We need to remember that a robust AI system will run algorithms that: 1. Require millions of data points to recognize patterns and learn from it, and 2. Make predictions based on past outcomes. By point no. 1, this would make AI systems ideal for performing repetitive tasks (automation), like providing insights by detecting patterns, and even engage with humans to address high frequency issues with readily available solutions. But what about tasks that require analysis, leadership, creative thinking and innovation?

With respect to point no. 2, an important point is to be noted: An AI algorithm will run explicitly as it is told. It is subjected to developer’s influence. It will make predictions because it has been “coded” to do so, but it cannot explain the rationale behind it. Another dark side to this implies algorithm manipulation. What about the credibility of millions of data fed into the AI system? It can’t assess what is right and wrong. It takes an input and churns out an output without discerning data quality. This is AI’s fundamental weakness. Now consider applying this to HR, where hiring involves assessing a candidate’s attitude and credentials.

An AI system cannot learn from 100 Fortune company leaders in order to make an important decision for company growth. Even if it learns from 100 leaders specific to one industry, each leaders’ rationale in justifying their decision will vary uniquely. What is unique about the human element – more than acquired knowledge – is our decades of experience and emotions, combined with the penchant for risk-taking, that has been the foundation of innovations. These experiences are unique to each of us, in dictating our lifestyles and achievements, and this makes it hard for an AI in recognizing patterns. The intellectual workforce of tomorrow therefore, will be a combination of the human element and AI enabled insights. We will work with AI machines in tandem.

So, will Recruiters be Replaced by AI?

Based on justifications above, the answer is obvious. AI systems cannot replace HR recruiters. A great recruiter looks beyond a candidate’s qualification. They look for passion, assess their attitude to sync with existing teams, and they gauge a candidate’s personality in line with company culture. In fact, a great recruiter won’t even care for a candidate’s resume. Recruiters are people-centric personalities who serve as catalysts in building efficient work teams. As long as there are humans in the workforce, the demand for great HR recruiters will remain intact.

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Why most people don’t pursue their passion

7 Min 44 Sec to read

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

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Abstract:  All of us are innately passionate about something. However, have you ever wondered why only few people pursue their passion? Education, wealth, or pedigree were insignificant to success achieved by those who followed their dreams. Then what is the unfair advantage that dreamers who succeeded had that others didn’t? We explain below.

“Even those who followed their dreams had probably overlooked their unfair advantage”

 

The story of a man who loved to fix cars

As an automotive enthusiast, I am very particular about maintaining my vehicles in pristine condition. Unfortunately, most service centers are not reliable. I was desperately looking out for a private service center known for its ethical and qualitative services. It was destiny that brought me to Ignite Garage – A service center ran by a true-blood auto enthusiast named Raghav. He knew cars like Einstein knew physics.

Before Raghav started this garage, he worked in the corporate world for about 5 years and hated his job. He loved cars, and was passionate about servicing them. The sheer boredom of his corporate work compelled him to fix cars for his friends and colleagues over weekends. He did it for fun. It was his weekend solace. When he didn’t have any work on the weekends, he would spend time reading auto magazines. However, he never had the risk appetite to pursue his passion full-time. His passion caught the attention of Affu – a colleague at work – who was genuinely worried about Raghav’s disgruntled face in office. She periodically encouraged Raghav to follow his passion, despite him lacking courage to take the risk

However, Affu’s persistence paid off when Raghav finally accepted to go entrepreneurial. She even supported his venture financially – from her personal savings. Raghav took the plunge in 2008, and positioned his garage’s value proposition with qualitative and ethical service. Owing to his services, I have been able to maintain a 63 year old Jeep in flawless working condition. Today, his garage is a very popular destination in Chennai for many auto enthusiasts like myself. An important question to consider here is, would Raghav have started the garage, had Affu not encouraged him periodically?

The story of a man who loved to cook

My college friend, Sriram, is innately passionate about cooking and started learning it since high school. He would seek guidance from his maid whenever appropriate, and over time, he started experimenting his own recipes. However, to this day, he never considered a full time career as a star chef or running his own gastronomy channel on YouTube. He has a successful career in management & operations, however, nothing lights up the gleam in his eyes when someone bring up a food topic – be it cooking recipes or discussing about the best food joints in town.

I am not sure if Sriram would ever consider an alternate career path in the culinary department, however, I felt that he needed reassurance of his eminent talent. I suggested, at the very least, he should be taking photos of dishes he prepares, and post it on facebook, just to note what comments his friends would make. I was compelled to suggest this because I would never pass off an opportunity to make him cook when he’s visiting me. Without the slightest hesitation, he would charge up with a smile, and impulsively head to the grocery store. At the store, when we pass each aisle, he would request what type of cuisine I prefer and he’d also suggest options that will make my taste buds drool. Depending on my choice, he would pick the right ingredients. The guy is so meticulous that he wouldn’t even bother buying premade sauces or preserved condiments. He would prepare them at home from scratch.

Needless to say, the dishes Sriram prepared and uploaded on facebook, attracted a lot of engagement. If only there was a drool icon to justify what our taste buds feel, thanks to his vivid descriptions of the dishes he prepares. As I gaze through his gastronomy photo collections, I have now requested that he start his own facebook page with the title “Sri Dreams of Food.” He promised to implement this over the weekend (note the date of this article). I am very optimistic of the very large fan base to follow his page. Just like the previous story, and important question to consider here is, would Sriram have started taking pictures of his dishes, had I not compelled him to do it periodically?

So why are most people not pursuing their passion?

A simple answer to the above question, is the lack of consistent reassurance from an associate. In the above two stories, it was evident that periodic encouragement from an associate had compelled the dreamers to follow their passion, or at least give it a shot. It would be fair in concluding that even the most successful entrepreneurs, political leaders, actors, singers, etc. had someone behind them, to fuel their pursuit of passion. That associate could have been a parent, sibling, teacher, friend or a mentor. All successful people had mentors, to whom they attribute their achievements. That mentor could be anyone – even if they lacked the knowledge or experience – who wholeheartedly supported the dreamers and gave them the courage to take the risk and pursue their passion.

Most people are bogged down in their daily routine. They ignore their monotonous work-life – despite being conscious of it – because they have to pay bills, and that combined with other commitments, make their dreams seem impractical. Their dreams become more and more obsolete as they grow older and family commitments continue to increase. Over time, even if sparks of their dreams exist, they completely lack the confidence in themselves to take the chance, due to fear of jeopardizing their family’s financial security. What is important to note then, is that irrespective of one’s age, the support, encouragement and consistent reassurance from a trusted associate is an important attribute to following one’s passion.

If you look deeply into this theory, you will realize that all achievements – big or small – can be credited to one or more people associated with the dreamer. Here are some real-life scenarios:

• A co-founder in a startup who believed in the founder’s idea
• An experienced football coach who can foresee a young player’s potential
• A best friend who helped you in getting your first job
• A teacher who identified and encouraged the math talent in a high school student
• A sister who gave her saved cash for her brother to buy an electric guitar and start a band
• A grandfather who sold his estate so that his grandson can set up an auto tuning workshop
• A mother who sacrificed her Christmas present so her daughter could attend music lessons

We can say with confidence that without an associate’s consistent encouragement, there won’t be realization of one’s dreams. This is our strong conviction for including the Dream Credentials section in Credait website (Credait.com). CREDAIT is an acronym for credentials, dreams, and traits. We firmly believe that many people with dreams, lack encouragement from people surrounding them. To make matters worse, even when the dreamers share their passion, it is either ridiculed, deemed to be impractical or discouraged on the grounds of “playing it safe.” We firmly believe that when such negativity is avoided, people will have the courage to pursue their passion.

As mentioned in the above two stories, where Raghav and Sriram had the privilege of associates supporting them in following their passion, we intend Credait to be every dreamer’s supportive associate. We firmly believe that someone’s passion is another person’s priority. And unlike other platforms where one needs to search for an ideal profile and apply for a position, in Credait, the dreamer will be pursued by others. So by default, the dreamer is assured that someone has reached out to them because they already find value in their passion. An ice breaker is already established and neither parties need to be wasting time with unwanted screening questions. Let us consider some real-life scenarios:

• Teenagers can identify a local talent to form a music band
• A short-film maker, can hire a hobbyist in drone flying, for aerial video shots
• A high school can hire a local piano artist for special classes every Saturday
• A librarian passionate about bridal make-up, can supplement her income working part time
• A retired grandmother with expertise in Mongolian cuisine can share her talent to others
• A machinist can pursue a skilled 3D printing expert for a unique project requiring both applications

Imagine the possibilities that can unfold, when people are pursued for their passion. Even those people with jobs can enter their dream credentials. This way, they could be pursued for their passion part-time. And those without jobs can be pursued for their passion full-time, and eventually end up making a career out of their passion. Even for the people with jobs, they may initially choose to pursue their passion part-time, and that could turn into full-time proposition. As Zig Ziglar put it, “When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.” We encourage everyone to take their passion to new heights by getting identified through Credait.

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Why colleges will become obsolete by 2025?

6 Min 56 Sec to read

by:

Lifestyle

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We will transition from institutionalized degrees to self-taught subject experts

 

Abstract: Looking into history, even before colleges were established, there were knowledge centers – a place where disciples would gather at a specific place and time, to learn from an experienced teacher. These knowledge centers evolved into educational institutions over time, thereby cementing themselves as centers of learning. In the information age however, knowledge has evolved from being confined to learning at specific locations to becoming omnipresent digitally.  We are gravitating towards the era of self-learning.

The story of a visionary professor

When I was doing my masters at UW-Madison in 2004, my advisor – Prof. John Webster, conducted only open book tests. He would allow our text books, class notes, and any other reference material that would aid our semester exams. He was also generous in giving a lot of time to finish the test. Some students would walk away in 15-20 minutes of completing the test, for which the professor allowed an hour usually. He would express that in the real world, we wouldn’t be memorizing concepts or formulas to design the next pacemaker or MRI machine. He expressed that with increasing internet speeds, knowledge will be accessible from our palms. Interestingly, 3 years later, the first smartphone (iPhone) was launched (June 2007).

Prof. Webster gave us homework / projects that required us to do research on the internet. He would guide us in accessing the right publications. He gave students the privilege to walk into his office any time, and was receptive to alternative approaches in research. While MOOC (Massive open online courses) has emerged a popular trend now, our professor video recorded all his lectures since the late 90’s. If he had to take a day off, then he would remind students to view his video lecture, and in the successive class, he would hold a clarification session. Sometimes, I would watch his video following his live lecture. This way, I could understand engineering concepts better. This man genuinely wanted his students to attain knowledge – more than grades or degrees. Writing this section about Prof. Webster after 13 years since I was a student, has garnered even more respect and admiration for him. He is a visionary teacher indeed.

Why schools or colleges came into existence?

Before schools or colleges where designated with those titles, knowledge centers were in existence for over 2000 years. Mankind’s curiosity has been the foundation for innovations, and learning (knowledge) was the bridge between curiosity and innovation. Curious people started experimenting and documenting concepts, and over the years, they attained invaluable knowledge. Now what’s the point of attaining all the knowledge without passing it on to the next generation? The experimenters or researchers had repositories of documented knowledge – a physical location – and the next generation had access to these knowledge, along with researchers becoming their teachers / advisors.

The thirst for learning made people travel far distances, to the desired knowledge centers. The quest for knowledge therefore, stemmed from the “expeditions” to these knowledge centers. Over the years, knowledge repositories increased in size, and each iteration contributing to an ever growing knowledge base. As knowledge became more advanced, it had to be learnt in progressive steps, and hence education on a mass scale evolved to become a necessity. The awareness for education meant that knowledge centers couldn’t be confined to very specific locations, but instead need to be dispersed at various locations – and hence the evolution of schools and colleges. So when I wanted to be a biomedical engineer, I had to choose a university that offered this major, and along with the text books and research materials within campus, I also had the guidance of Prof. Webster with over 30 years of research in the biomedical field.

The rationale behind colleges becoming obsolete

Today, if we wanted to learn about how a pacemaker or MRI machine works, it is just a YouTube video away. If we want to deep-dive into engineering concepts an MRI machine, we can sign up with MOOC. If UW-Madison tied up with MOOC like Coursera, John Webster’s video lectures will be available to anyone. An aspiring biomedical student from a remote village in India has access to the best minds in biomedical engineering across the world, owing to the internet. There is no need to travel half way across the world or pay high tuition fees. Certified courses are now available at an unimaginable fraction of the cost as opposed to institutionalized cost. A candidate’s passion and curiosity towards any subject is enough for them to become self-taught experts. If there are any clarifications, professors or subject experts are available through online interactions. What this implies is that any candidate with self-learnt subject expertise, can build his own product / technology and go entrepreneurial, or at the least, apply to a position that requires his subject expertise. In the latter case, the candidate’s competencies can be tested by a prospective employer in that particular subject expertise – through interviews or tests.

This goes back to what Prof. Webster was saying, that in the real world one would rely on fastest access to knowledge resources to build the next pacemaker or MRI machine. The workers of tomorrow will be judged on their passion or command they possess towards a subject, and how intuitively they access knowledge sources to build the next great product and / or optimize workplace efficiency. The company of tomorrow will also not seek a candidate’s college degree or resume, but instead, the candidate’s genuine inclination towards a subject or service. A lot of these developments are happening this very moment.

Multinational technology companies are directly recruiting students inclined to coding and gaming from high school, and giving them the infrastructure for training in areas of their interests. News media and PR firms are approaching popular blog writers to do an exclusive content for their company’s publication. Movie makers are hiring expert drone operators to shoot aerial shots, that would otherwise be more expensive when hiring a helicopter and a pilot. Today, one can learn how to fly a drone efficiently, by watching a YouTube video and through forums for drone flying, where experienced drone operators are advising aspiring learners free of cost.  There are YouTube videos of people building garage tools using 3-D printers, while some have built a functional helicopter on their terrace by sourcing parts locally. A low-cost smartphone and a free internet access at a mall or coffee shop is all the requirement one needs to learn about everything. Knowledge therefore is no longer confined to institutions or limited by a 3 – 4 year time frame. In the information age, continuous learning is not an option, but will remain a way of life.

Conclusion

So what will happen to the colleges and universities after 2025? Will they be shut down? The answer is a no. Assessing logically, colleges or universities will probably remain research & development centers. They will continue to remain as knowledge centers for experimenting the unknown. Even self-taught subject experts can choose to be apprentices to research scholars in colleges, if that is what they are passionate about. If we look into history, not every ground braking research or innovation was based on college degrees. What mattered was passion combined with curiosity. In other words, it was passion towards knowledge that had even led to the formation of colleges in the first place.

Innovative thinkers are those who are way ahead of their times. In the past, some of these people were lucky enough to have access to right knowledge resources. I would like to believe that there were many other innovative thinkers in the past, who didn’t have the privilege or affordability to access knowledge, otherwise we would have witnessed more innovations. However, in the information age, affordability or access to knowledge is no more a constraint. This is the most exciting thing governing our information age. Because in our age, we will not only be learning, but given the bursts of innovation happening, we will be rapidly adapting to changes. As sociologist Alvin Toffle perfectly summarized, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” It would be justified then, to conclude that our age is evolving into an era of self-taught subject experts.

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