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Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience When Hiring Contingent Talent Remotely

As digitization, coupled with the global pandemic, propels contingent hiring online and with more individuals relying on employer reviewer sites to evaluate businesses, delivering a positive[...]

March 10, 2021

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AI Technology Needs a Brand Overhaul

AI is shrouded in mystery, or so it seems. One side of the internet is touting it as a life-changing fix for all the world’s problems, while the other lives in fear of the singularity looming on the horizon. It’s to be expected, I guess. There’s a sharp learning curve that comes with all new technology – and most people fear what they don’t understand. The apprehension will only intensify as AI evolves. The solution? A solid rebranding.

AI Isn’t as Powerful as Everyone Thinks It Is

Robots aren't going to change the world - yet. People are so emotionally attached to the possibilities of AI that they’re blocking their own view of seeing it objectively. What’s more, the industry is rife with buzzwords that get tossed around so much they cease to mean anything at all. As Nicholas Roope says in his article for Campaign:

“On the hype cycle, we’re on the steepest gradient, heading toward the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ around the subject of AI. In familiar style, we’ve jumped straight to the ‘how robots are going to replace all our jobs’ conversation before we’ve discerned the meaningful applications this emergent technology might have today.”

The hype cycle is clouding our judgment. We’re like robots ourselves, with glazed-over looks in our eyes as we process the deluge of information every time AI does something noteworthy. It’s a real bummer because those “meaningful applications” we’re missing out on have a nearly infinite wealth of potential for businesses. Thousands of businesses have already begun implementing AI successfully. A few examples:

  • FireEye, a cybersecurity company, launched its AI-powered Helix platform last year, which uses machine learning to identify threats and reduce response times. As a result, the company saw an increase in new customers, a 90% renewal rate, and a 38% boost in cross-sales.
  • Textio uses AI to analyze the performance of millions of job posts per month. Major companies like Johnson & Johnson, Spotify, Twitter have used the platform to find qualified and diverse talent. The company reports that job descriptions with high Textio scores attract 25% more qualified candidates, 17% faster.

While enterprise companies may have been among the first to start using AI, they’re not the only ones who can benefit from it. AI is becoming more affordable and accessible by the minute. Small businesses now have the opportunity to leverage AI in ways that work for them; marketing automation, predictive analytics, and automated HR processes are just a few of its most exciting applications. Integrating this technology doesn’t have to be a full-scale affair, either. Even something as simple as a chatbot can improve customer service, increase conversion rates, and ultimately, make more money.

So What’s the Hold Up?

The internet continues to insist that AI is “the way of the future,” and that businesses better get on board or get lost. The problem is that nobody seems willing to address the challenges that are hindering the progress of AI – or how they can be fixed. Businesses have been slow to embrace this new wave of technology for several reasons:

  • The hype cycle is causing us to set unrealistic expectations. We’re so focused on what AI could do in the future that we’re failing to look at how it’s affecting us in the here and now. We’re blinded by love, if you will, and it’s preventing us from thinking clearly and critically about AI.
  • Machine learning takes a heck of a lot of processing power, and today’s CPUs can’t keep up. Cloud computing has served as a sort of Band-Aid solution for now, but it’s not a permanent one by any means. AI is getting smarter all the time, its algorithms becoming more complex with each data set it devours. To put it in Chief Brody’s words: we’re going to need a bigger boat. Thankfully, tech giants like Apple and Qualcomm are already hard at work building AI-designated chipsets.
  • People don’t trust AI because they just don’t get it. It makes sense; machine learning is hard to explain in layman’s terms. Then there’s the whole uncanny valley problem, which I’ve written about before. Finally, let’s not forget about the negativity effect – we hear far more news about AI screwing things up than we hear about it solving problems.

Reinventing the AI Brand

What I propose is that we start looking at AI in a different light, and to do that, it’ll need some rebranding. AI is lacking a very important, yet very basic, component: the human element. Ben Lamm, co-founder of artificial intelligence solutions startup Hypergiant, understands the need for people-powered AI. Hypergiant helps Fortune 500 companies find and implement AI solutions that meet their needs. In other words, Lamm and his co-founders are AI matchmakers. Head to TGI Friday’s if you want to see Hypergiant’s first product in action; Flanagan is an AI-powered mixologist that recommends drinks based on customer input and company records.

Hypergiant goes beyond simply delivering AI to businesses. Lamm and his team want to help business leaders understand how AI works, what it’s capable of, and how to use it in meaningful ways. An AI brand overhaul would have similar goals:

  • Knowledge is fear’s greatest enemy. Tech companies should focus on educating consumers – in common language – about how their AI collects data and makes decisions. This could be deployed easily through content such as videos and white papers.
  • Likewise, training needs to be made available at the small business and consumer levels. Businesses that want to harness AI technology must ensure that their people know how to handle it. At the moment, there are very few AI education programs outside of universities. Company-sponsored AI training programs could teach employees how to use AI as it applies to businesses.
  • AI companies should clearly communicate their product’s benefits. That means avoiding buzzwords and dense technical language. Saying that your "pragmatic AI uses natural language processing that’s quickly deployable and can streamline core businesses processes” sounds like hollow marketing fluff. Instead, explain what your product can do for businesses specifically, and provide real life examples of how it has helped others.
  • AI needs to interact with more humans, not just engineers and data. After all, diversity can’t be built in a lab - it needs to come from genuine human experiences. Competitors know this, and companies like Mozilla are already starting to crowdsource human input for AI training. Not only is this effective at making AI more intelligent, it also gives people a greater sense of control, which increases their willingness to embrace it.

AI and Humans Can Live Happily Ever After

AI is only going to get more complex in the future - the time to start making a focused effort to build trust in AI is now. AI companies that want to demystify their technology should strive to educate consumers, diversify AI training, and trim some of the rhetoric from their marketing. Trust is built on understanding and freedom of choice. Oh, and we should probably stop saying robots are going to take everyone’s jobs.









Sunil Bagai
Sunil Bagai
Sunil is a Silicon Valley thought leader, speaker, motivator, and the visionary behind the groundbreaking Crowdstaffing ecosystem. Blending vision, technology, and business skills, he is transforming the talent acquisition landscape and the very nature of work. Prior to launching Crowdstaffing, Sunil honed his skills and experience as a business leader for companies such as IBM, EMC, and Symantec. "We need to think exponentially to mindfully architect the future of humanity, civilization, and work. When we collaborate and work together, everyone prospers."
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