Artificial Intelligence in HR: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly?

The Good

Hi Siri, how will I feel next Tuesday?

Imagine that. How would life be if we could not only ask a virtual friend what the future looks like, but also how we would feel about it! It seems not only Apple is into emotions, Amazon is also working on a wearable that tracks emotions and talks to you through Alexa..

Even if we cannot cope with our feelings at that time or we need some kind of therapeutic chat to cheer us up, there is the digital version of a rubber duck - your virtual coach (or even psych) - like Wysa, or Siri or Alexa when they are developed further.

Maybe you would like to chat with one of them about the feelings you are most likely going to have next Tuesday. If you don’t like what you hear, you can maybe do something about it.

After all, how can Siri, Alexa or Wysa be wrong? An AI solution has beaten Stanford Radiologists in Chest X-ray Diagnostics this week!

Indeed, 22 years after DeepBlue, AI defeated human kind again.

Yet 22 years ago, the defeated chess player Kasparov accused IBM of cheating and demanded a rematch. IBM refused and dismantled Deep Blue, leaving the rumours of cheating unanswered. (Source: Wikipedia)

Still, today AI has a place in HR and The Workplace and its impact on the human experience will be present today and tomorrow. Rapid automation and customisation/personalisation will become ever more important to improve the human experience, in-and outside the Workplace.

Also Startups Can Use AI-Powered Tools to Scale Up by improving customer experience, using AI analysis for rapid/modern decision making, enabling efficient business forecasting, automating marketing efforts, improving the hiring process and/or enhancing data security.

There is a lot of potential in using AI for several goals. The need for automation, speed and improving the human experience is not only high in Human Resources, as you can see on the Data & AI map from Firstmark (an early stage VC investor/accelerator from NY).

The Bad

It is becoming a cliche with newly discovered technologies; the potential is sugar coated and the unanswered questions it brings along are being minimalized. Everybody likes to talk about the good stuff, yet nobody is interested in the downsides, while they are standing like elephants in the room.

Political elephants in the room of AI are “how GDPR could obstruct AI development”, but also less relevant (or populistic) topics; i.e. “what is the impact of the Brexit on AI development” . These kinds of questions usually appear when the situation demands it and the answer has the tendency to be too little, too late.

While the potential is being sugar coated, the entire room - that is filled with elephants - probably should ask themselves what to do to prevent an evil, superpowered AI and define ethics for the use of AI. Preventing movie scenario’s as in Surrogates, I-robot, Android and Eagle Eye, or even Divergent.

Sometimes these remarks are being waved away, yet the number of people talking about ethics being used in AI is increasing and as in every disruptive process, regulation comes last. Bringing in governments, ethics and procedures... Sometimes the political instability could even affect the disruptive process.

Still, the time for AI is now, according to Shelly Xuelai Fan - author of the book “Will AI replace us?” - the rapid revolution of AI has led to more intelligence and more speed. She also mentions the path to ethical AI.

The Ugly

As mentioned before, everybody likes to talk about the good stuff, but all the fails and risks - necessary to gain success - are being ignored.

Did you know that 25% of companies fail half their projects and 60% of the companies changed their Business Model to adjust to AI adoption? Yet, according to Kyle Dent the risk of amoral AI, deploying automation without considering ethics, could be disastrous for your company!

Take this into consideration when talking about AI. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Also, as a reaction to all the ferrytales about AI out there,The Verge even started with "Wake Word", a game about the rediculous future of bad AI.


The potential is big, the awareness is growing, yet the applications are just being developed and in most cases need improvement. That is why there is so much funding. To invest in product development and scaling up.

Because society fails to provide the right ethics in deploying Artificial Intelligence today, it is up to the companies to create transparent ethical guidelines before deploying their AI.

Yet AI in HR is real. It is high speed automation and machine intelligence, it should lead to a better human experience and personalisation, which will lead to better results.