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WHY DOES HR TECH NEED TO BE REGULATED?
The Answer is Human.
Facebook’s abandonment of facial recognition technology has called into question what works and what doesn’t, at least not yet, with the use of artificial intelligence in enterprise people analytics and human capital insights. Where should be regulated in what is now a vector space much like the Wild West where human resource teams and technologists are figuring out what
they can and cannot do. Implementing such technology without out a clear vision that aligns with human ethics has so far proven damaging from employee to enterprise.
Let’s take a look at Facebook (now Meta). Facial recognition is a form of artificial intelligence that while helpful in areas like identity verification and fraud protection, is creating a need for ongoing oversight so it does not violate civil rights by becoming a pathway to discrimination or privacy violations. A recent CNN article expands on this: “Facial recognition software has been fraught with controversy, as concerns mount about its accuracy and underlying racial bias. For example, the technology has been shown to be less accurate when identifying people of color, and several Black men, at least, have been wrongfully arrested due to the use of facial recognition. While there's no national legislation regulating the technology's use, a growing number of states and cities are passing their own rules to limit or ban its use.”
Such incidents, however, created no impetus for Facebook (now Meta), to abandon the current implementation of facial recognition algorithms. It took public pressure over the leaked Facebook Papers for the company to stop using facial recognition and agree to delete data acquired through it from billions of users.
“The move, announced in a blog post authored by Meta’s artificial intelligence vice president Jerome Pesenti, comes as the company is widely scrutinized for the potential real-world harms of its social platforms in the wake of a whistleblower's leak of hundreds of internal documents.”
Alongside Meta’s decision that affects billions of users who opted into the function created to assist interpersonal connections on the social media platform, the “U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is launching an initiative to ensure that artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging tools used in hiring and other employment decisions comply with federal civil rights laws that the agency enforces.”
The impetus for the EEOC initiative is to prevent technology from discrimination. Charlotte A. Burrows, Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) acknowledges in her statement that while some AI is useful to prevent bias, it can also manifest bias that is already systemic without the use of the technology if poorly created/invalidated. AI for HR is supposed to eliminate bias, not perpetuate it, as noted in our previous article, Finding Talent Blind [insert hyperlink to article].
Just last year, The Electronic Privacy and Information Center filed a complaint with the FTC sustaining that the data points collected relating to voice and facial expressions incorporated into HR behavioral assessments with unproven algorithms, violated civil rights, therefore shutting down the company’s use of these assessment tools.
Arthur Tisi, CEO of MeaningBot, explains why: “Multiple studies report that facial recognition technology is biased and delivers significantly higher error rates particularly with people of color. Inventing a machine that sees and hears like we do is a deceptively difficult task. Not only because it’s hard but because we’re not really sure how human vision or audiology works in the first place. Any system that involves the brain in this way still has a way to go.”
“Despite recent impressive progress, scientists agree that we are not close to solving certain aspects of multi-modal artificial intelligence. MeaningBot’s natural language processing is tied to validated psychological inventories. We welcome scrutiny of the correlations, accuracy, and precision of our models. In every instance, we support explainable, validated artificial intelligence.”
Wired writers, Eric Lander and Alondra Nelson, make it clear in their article, “Americans Need a Bill of Rights for an AI Powered World:” In the United States, some of the failings of AI may be unintentional, but they are serious and they disproportionately affect already marginalized individuals and communities. They often result from AI developers not using appropriate data sets and not auditing systems comprehensively, as well as not having diverse perspectives around the table to anticipate and fix problems before products are used (or to kill products that can’t be fixed).”
While AI is an enterprise structural necessity in the uniquely human future of work, it cannot be launched half-baked. The data needs to be clean and tested before machine learning can create viable assessments.
Glenn Lopis, Forbes Leadership Strategy Contributor, and author of HR Departments Must Urgently Become Human Capital Departments, agrees that, “People analytics are a vital part of running a high performing company but better to think of it as people and analytics. You don’t need data to know that the most loyal and happiest employees are the ones who have the opportunity to grow themselves and align that growth with the growth of the company. This is what individuals want and they are defining business today. This is what the HR of the future must be about.”
And, the future of work incorporating HR tech into the mix, is aimed to create a more human experience within a structure disrupted by the pandemic that was well overdue for change. Remote and hybrid workforces require unbiased and customized tools that help employees and organizations operate in a cross-functional model so they can respond to change efficiently and quickly. It’s what the market demands for better business outcomes.
“HR leaders can best support their organizations when equipped with the necessary insights to build growth strategies in alignment with company goals by getting the right talent with the right skills in the right roles. That means welcoming helpful technologies and being open to new ways of thinking and working every day. As we integrate the best of people and technology during this unprecedented period of disruption in our working lives, now is the ideal time for forward-thinking HR leaders to get ready for the next profound and lasting change,” according to Human Resource Executive. “Successful adoption of AI enables HR teams to spend more time on the “human” part of human resources–listening to employees’ voices and supporting their wellbeing–a winning situation for everyone.”
Hunova is an enterprise insights and solution tool based on people analytics including relationships, skills, psychometrics, and work style preferences, offering unbiased and validated data on human capital. Our products provide far reaching organizational benefits across every segment of teams, management and individuals.
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