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Responsible AI: Safeguarding the use of AI in Talent Assessment

AIFuture of Work
calendarJune 08, 2023
calendarAlan Bourne
Responsible AI: Safeguarding the use of AI in Talent Assessment

The prospect of AI taking all our jobs, or even conspiring to unleash doomsday scenarios on the human race, has captured the imagination of media outlets worldwide. Tech industry leaders have joined forces to raise the alarm, penning open letters to governments highlighting the existential risks involved.

While some of these concerns may appear sensationalised, dismissing the risks outright would be unwise for any organisation. In the realm of talent assessment, in order to harness the potential benefits of AI is also essential to mitigate the associated risks. In this article, we delve into the prerequisites for moving forward with confidence, so you can seize the remarkable opportunities AI offers for enhanced efficiency, scalability and performance.

The Risks Inherent in AI-based Talent Assessment

Regrettably, numerous high-profile cases have already demonstrated the negative consequences of AI decision-making. Biased CV screening tools, gender-biased promotion of the highest paid jobs in Google ads, and potentially skewed facial recognition in video interviews are just a few examples of AI applications gone awry in the talent space.

How did we find ourselves in this predicament? It seems unlikely that anyone deliberately designs AI systems infused with bias. However, when these systems are built on datasets tainted by human prejudices and little effort is made to correct these biases, the risk of embedding them further into the technology becomes all too real. As Virginia Eubanks extensively explores in her book "Automating Inequality," thoughtless application of AI can amplify and perpetuate existing biases. It is clear that recklessly entrusting any problem to machines and expecting them to solve it without unintended consequences is nothing more than a pipe dream.

To build AI systems that avoid the prejudices of indifference and genuinely deliver fair and sustainable outcomes, this demands much greater intentionality by those involved in the design process. Just as safety should remain paramount ahead of profit in physical construction and engineering, a balanced approach that prioritises fairness and inclusion is imperative for powerful AI-driven tools in the talent space.

The Foundation of Responsible AI

Adopting a Responsible AI approach is the cornerstone of risk mitigation while effectively harnessing the substantial benefits that AI can bring. Within the realm of talent assessment, several principles must be followed to achieve this delicate balance.

Real-World Readiness: The technology must be robust, consistently delivering results without introducing significant false positives or false negatives. For instance, the release of Chat GPT marked a clear milestone in the quality of Large Language Models, making them ready for wider real-world applications.

Prediction and Effectiveness: The AI system must genuinely predict or lead to desired outcomes. In the context of talent assessment, this means accurately identifying individuals who will excel in a job, who deserves promotion, or identifying suitable development activities.

Fairness and Inclusivity: Above all, AI tools must minimise bias related to gender, ethnicity, age, and other protected characteristics. Measurable and evidence-based proof, not mere assumptions, is essential to give full confidence that an AI talent application delivers the fairness that is critical for it's appropriate use.

Legal Defensibility: Compliance with equal opportunities legislation is crucial in any assessment process, whether AI is involved or not. The New York City AI law, now requires any AI tool in hiring to demonstrate fair and equitable outcomes. Failure to ensure audited processes that demonstrate fairness can lead to severe financial and reputational risks for companies. The evolving European Union AI legislation is also expanding beyond outcomes to also examine the AI decision-making process itself.

Transparency and Explainability: Employers and employees alike need to be confident in decision-making processes. Transparency and explainability are central to building this trust. Decision-making should be grounded in a logically sound and acceptable rationale, particularly when selecting candidates for jobs.

Data Security: Trust in how data is used is paramount and already enshrined in frameworks like the GDPR. Safeguarding the integrity and privacy of individuals' data within AI applications specifically is also a key focus of emerging AI legislation.

Human Oversight and Control: Organisations must retain human oversight as a prerequisite to earning and maintaining the trust of candidates and employees. Decision-making processes sometimes necessitate adjustment, review, or right of appeal, and individuals must know they can connect with a human with the authority to adapt or override automated decisions. Ultimately, employers remain fundamentally accountable for the decisions they make.

To conclude - the integration of AI in talent assessment requires a delicate balance between risk and reward. Embracing Responsible AI practices will help us leverage the immense potential of AI while mitigating the inherent risks. By following the guiding principles of fairness, transparency, legal compliance, and human oversight, we can forge a path towards a future where AI-driven tools amplify human capabilities rather than perpetuate biases. The road ahead beckons, and it is up to us to navigate it with caution, wisdom, and a steadfast commitment to ethical and responsible AI adoption.

Responsible AI: Safeguarding the use of AI in Talent Assessment