Have you ever used or been forced to use facial recognition software ?
I am a huge proponent of technology and the ways it can help us in the future. I believe that technology will be immersive in our lives. Technology will make repeat functions in our lives much easier and also enhance other aspects of our lives. We will get the time to do things we otherwise couldn't because technology will add efficiency in our lives. HOWEVER, I also believe that as we continue to build technology, we need to think of the implications it has on our culture, our human element, our future lifestyles (live, work and play).
New software is out there that is being used to monitor interviewees on micro movements, talking intonations, word choice and other points to rank and determine, who to hire. On one hand, with diversity and inclusion and unconscious bias on the forefront, you would think this is a good thing. However, studies show that this could actually create more discriminatory practices that "mirror human bias and fast track discrimination based on race, sex, gender, primary language and class."1 Most of the AI code is still written or managed by homogeneous groups of people. Code is written and architected by engineers. Most engineers don't work with a diverse team nor include psychologists or social scientists to expand their mindset on how they should be coding or even understanding human nature. So at the end of the day, the code / AI is as flawed as the group of individuals coding it.
At this point, human nature and experience is much more valuable than having a technology decide who gets hired or not. In this day and age, we have gotten to the point that managers aren't trained enough or ready to hire new people. They are not trained to understand what it's like to be a manager and know how to read people, interview and analyze the results of an interview. Most managers are so busy with the day to day work that they are desperate to find a new employee but don't take the time to be a human in the process. Most people looking for a job are posting 100's of resumes everyday, networking like crazy and are looking for a job because they need one. However, the interviewer only sees the fact that they are hiring someone to get a job done. In this day and age the human element is critical.
Most companies are talking about culture, diversity and inclusion and "trying" to engage with employees. However, it all starts at the point a company posts a job and begins the process to interview a person. A candidate usually has to fill out the same exact form at every company on every website. Most of the times this form filling is a minimum of 10 minutes per role and done on systems that ask for you to manual repeat all the information in your resume. On top of that, recruiters are so busy they only respond to candidate that that they are going to interview. Even at that point the conversations are brief and inhumane. Add to that, companies want to use face recognition in the interview to rank and hire. Yet as an employee, leadership wants to talk about engagement, culture and feeling like part of the team.
This is a dichotomy we have a problem with in all levels of the organization. On one hand employees are working like crazy (time and actual work) and now on top of it, they are expected to be human and engaged with others in the organization. Leaders need to become self aware of what matters to them so that they can be more aware of their own teams. If leaders are not walking the talk then they can't expect their employees to find solutions that will walk the talk.
If the person interviewing can't figure out whether they want to hire someone, they shouldn't be in a hiring role. The whole point of being in a hiring role is that they are a manager / leader (yes two different things). Managers should be trained to understand how to be a leader, how to hire, how to be engaged with their team, how to bring the human element for themselves and their team to work.
There is a limit to technology and how we use the technology we are building. We can't let technology dehumanize us. One thing people forget is that utilizing technology for every little thing is actually making the human population less capable as our minds aren't developing to the ability they used to. :(
Check out this petition to have Hilton and Unilever stop using facial recognition / analysis for hiring. Let's stop making people feel less than and use the knowledge we have to hire folks.
There has to be more useful solutions to using facial recognition. Maybe it could be used to enter employer buildings instead of ID cards, use it as a payment method within employer buildings for the cafeteria. I am sure there are many other ways to utilize this software instead of for ranking and hiring folks.
What other ways do you think facial recognition could be used for good?
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1. Steve Lohr, "Facial Recognition Is Accurate, if You’re a White Guy" The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2018.