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Artificial Intelligence is becoming an increasingly discussed topic and its potential influence on the staffing industry is of no less concern. Whether its effective customer relations, the potential to replace a certain career field, or to improve operational efficiency, the age of technology and machine learning is here.

What is AI?

SAS, a global leader in data analytics and the use of AI in its software, defines AI as follows:

“Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. Most AI examples that you hear about today – from chess-playing computers to self-driving cars – rely heavily on deep learning and natural language processing. Using these technologies, computers can be trained to accomplish specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data.”

AI is all around us, including in our smartphones, in conversational AI (like Alexa, Siri, etc.), chatbots, and even predicting whether or not we’ll survive a hospital stay. Popular Mechanics reports:

“An artificial intelligence program developed by researchers at Google can predict when a hospital patient will die with up to 95 percent accuracy, according to a new paper published in the journal npj Digital Medicine. If this type of AI is implemented in hospitals, it could help these hospitals save money and more efficiently apply their resources, increasing the number of lives they could save.”

The applications for AI are as numerous as our imagination.

Coming to your Company Soon?

Companies are increasingly becoming interested in implementing the technology. Fully half of those responsible for purchasing new technology will at least look into acquiring AI this year, says a report from Forrester Consulting.

One obvious place for AI to be incorporated is in customer service.

IBM wrote in late 2017 that it predicts by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent. A reason for this is because businesses are keen to significantly lower customer abandonment rates, which AI seems to support by being able to resolve customer service issues before they even happen. And, the promise of automation is that it will free up employees from routine support requests so they can focus on more complex tasks.

Will You Be Replaced?

Patricia Conlin, a certified emotional intelligence trainer, small business owner, speaker, and recruiter wrote in EMInfo that AI coming to the workplace will serve as a tool to help recruiters with their mission. She stated that AI promises to support automating the screening of applications, engage in routine customer service, and even conduct preliminary interviews. Where AI will fall short is in the soft skills necessary for effective recruiting.

“Recruitment still remains a ‘people’ business,” writes Conlin. “The most successful recruiters in the future will be the same as the most successful ones in the past and present–those who can forge and maintain excellent client and candidate relationships. Relationships are variable and empathy, intuition, instinct and accurate listening skills are required.”

In November 2017, McKinsey Global Institute released a report that between 400 million and 800 million jobs will be automated by 2030 and a recent Rasmussen Reports survey believes that 64% of American adults think it’s at least Somewhat Likely that most jobs in America will be done by robots or computers 25 years from now

Preparing for the Future

AI should be viewed as merely a tool to improve efficiency that will be implemented in varying degrees by businesses at varying stages in the company lifecycle.

For example, a company that uses Facebook Jobs can automate a message response to applicants that acknowledges the job interest and provides further guidance for continuing the application. This is simple to use and inexpensive.

However, purchasing applicant tracking software or a customer relationship management system can be significant investments but offers scalability as a company grows.

AI offers great promise to “cut through the clutter” and focus on what truly matters to your business and relationships. Ready or not, it is already here. And it appears happy to be here.

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