By John Sumser, Principal Analyst at HRExaminer
Last year, my company, HRExaminer, published the first comprehensive analysis of AI in HR. At the time the research began in May 2017, there were about 40 companies claiming to use AI in HR. By the time we were finished, in October 2017, there were 65. At year’s end, there were more than 100.
Today, the number is close to 200. That’s a 500-percent year-over-year growth, and it’s going to accelerate. Every piece of software used in an enterprise setting will have some element of intelligent software: prediction, forecast, recommendation, decision filtration, data consolidation or sentiment analysis. In the long haul, it probably won’t be called AI.
When I ask audiences of HR executives who is buried in solicitations for AI services, all of the hands in the room go up; yet, when I ask if they understand the differences among vendors, no hands go up.
Buyers and decision-makers are swamped with competing, hard-to-validate assertions. The urgency and certainty with which they are delivered belie the unproven nature of most of the hype. To quote Bob Dylan, “Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is.”
The assertions are pretty hard to distinguish from one another—as many vendors say they’re the first or the only using a certain technology, pledge to eliminate bias or help companies learn what their employees are really thinking. Almost all claim an improvement in process efficiency, and uniformly compare human- and machine-error rates. However, AI services are more expensive to install and operate than they appear.
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Emerging Intelligence Columnist John Sumser is the principal analyst at HRExaminer. He researches the impact of data, analytics, AI and associated ethical issues on the workplace. John works with vendors and HR departments to identify problems, define solutions and clarify the narrative. He will be speaking at the HR Tech Conference in September, when HRExaminer’s Second Annual Index of Intelligent Software in HR will be published.