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As HR tech geeks, we tend to become impatient with the old and anxious for shiny new technology. Therefore, it is only natural for us to want to discuss the trends forming as we change our calendars from December 2016 to January 2017.

One development that has piqued our interest is the notion of artificial intelligence (AI). Before you jump to the conclusion that we are referring to a cold, soulless, impersonal machine, we challenge you to take a step back and entertain why AI may just be the modern day humanist.

From the early days of philosophy, humans have tried to define and analyze why humans think and behave in certain ways. Whether it was Aristotle or John Locke, human thinking has been analyzed and a major interest for centuries.

But why?

With understanding the standards for human thinking and behavior comes the potential for enhanced security, personally relevant products, clarity within relationships, more efficient logistics, etc. Basically, it could lead to increased success and greater profits.

Usually we gravitate to notions that could relate to our daily lives. As HR people, that means recruitment, payroll, benefits, compensation, etc. Therefore, it should be noted that should AI deliver upon its hyped potential, recruitment and the hiring process would be one area to see significant improvements and efficiencies. The screening process would shorten, putting viable candidates in front of hiring managers more quickly and in an unbiased manner.

“Many of our HR woes would be decreased, if not eliminated, which would let us focus more on the business.”

We believe that the impact of AI could reach further than that, however. Imagine understanding how to effectively communicate to employees anything from open enrollment to safety guidelines. Many of our HR woes would be decreased, if not eliminated, which would let us focus more on the business.

Regardless of how exciting AI is, we will have to be patient and critical of its success. Has AI increased the success of the company? Has AI correctly anticipated employee behavior? There is no point in praising a fancy new development if it does not deliver anticipated or needed results.

Beyond the success of AI, we also will need to also be critical of ourselves and how we are currently utilizing available data and knowledge. Machines are not always the solution — at least not yet! In fact, Dr. Steven Hawking was quoted saying, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

Rest easy, friends. There are many inclinations that we are far from reaching full AI. In fact, TechCrunch has spelled out several reasons defending this saying, “Our knowledge of the concepts of intelligence, consciousness, what the human mind even is, remains in an infantile stage.” Therefore, how could we possibly understand how to create full AI if we have yet to fully comprehend what it is to mimic?

Although we agree with TechCrunch in that “intelligence does not equate to superintelligence,” we remain optimistic at the capabilities and benefits of AI at its current stage.

To put it plainly, AI is intriguing. We hear chatter about it from work colleagues discussing movies such as The Imitation Game or Netflix series like Black Mirror. It is easy to imagine the possibilities and even perils of such a tool. Not only do the possible problems of AI amuse us, like in Black Mirror, but bad scenarios that require AI, like in The Imitation Game, entertain us. It must be human nature.

We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback regarding AI. Please feel free to post a comment below.