slide image

The One Human Task AI Will Never Perform

By Peter Weddle, Founder & CEO TAtech

There’s been an incalculable amount of commentary on the human tasks AI can perform or will be able to in the next couple of years. Everything from writing job ads and determining where they should be placed to answering job seeker questions, scheduling their interviews and assessing their skills is on the list. It is a handover that will fundamentally reset of the practices and processes of talent acquisition. So, what happens to recruiters? What will they be doing in this brave new world? Some contend that they’ll finally be able to do “what recruiters do best,” but there’s little agreement on what that actually is. And, frankly, whatever it is, it too could be all or partially overtaken by AI. So, the better tact would be to take on a new task, one that AI will never, ever be able to perform.

The state-of-the-art in what’s generally referred to as “artificial intelligence” is most accurately described as machine learning. Machines are now routinely “taught” with the accumulated human knowledge and experience detailed in the public and personal data found online and in databases. That intelligence is then refreshed and expanded with the data generated by the experience of the technology itself. In effect, AI systems (or at least the best of them) are the technological equivalent of lifelong learners. There may be other forms of artificial intelligence developed in the future (an outcome that is all but certain), but even if there isn’t, the technology as it exists today is sufficient to take over a huge and expanding range of the work tasks currently performed by humans.

Which begs the question, where does it end? Unfortunately, that’s impossible to say at this point. And that reality makes it imperative to answer another question: what’s a person to do in such an uncertain environment? I would posit that the best approach is to acquire, refresh and/or hone the qualities that enable a person to do the one thing that technology, no matter how brilliant, will never be able to do: Take on the role of leader.

Get worldclass content and business-building connections at TAtech North America & The World Job Board Forum. Avoid FOMO, register right now for the only conference in the North American market that is specifically designed both for job board and talent technology company CEOs, their direct reports and rising stars and to accelerate the bottom-line growth of their enterprises. Why the rush? Because the conference will be held June 4-6, 2024 at The International Spy Museum which has a limited seating capacity. So, register today and accelerate the success your company achieves, today, tomorrow and into the future!

The Role & Qualities of Leadership

Now, I suspect that some of you are muttering “There’s absolutely no way!” Being a leader is definitely not something you want to do or think you can do or both. However, I would respectfully suggest that such a view often reflects a misunderstanding of the differences between management and leadership. You can’t be an informal manager. It’s an organizational position – a formal role with a delineated set of responsibilities. A leader, on the other hand, can be a manager, but they can also play an informal role without the burdens of management.

In TA organizations, for example, informal leaders set the standard for other recruiters, serve as mentors for less experienced or struggling colleagues, volunteer to help out when a coworker is dealing with an emergency, champion the installation and use of new recruiting technology and take on a host of other important roles. Why bother? Because by acquiring a competency in leadership and demonstrating a commitment to its application on-the-job, you transform yourself from being a team member to being a team member who is also an extraordinarily valuable asset for the organization. You do more because you are more.

And here’s the good part: Leadership can be learned. Yes, there are natural born leaders, but the vast majority of people who demonstrate leadership art work have actually been trained to do so. They are professionals who decide to add the qualities of a leader to their core competency.

While there are many places where these qualities can be developed, I think among the very best is the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). Its tagline is “For All Things Humanly Possible” or to put it another way, “For All Things AI Will Never Ever Do.”

CCL has identified the 12 qualities a person must demonstrate to be an effective leader. The more well developed these traits are, the more capable a leader they can be.

The qualities are:
• Self-Awareness
• Respect
• Compassion
• Vision
• Communication
• Learning Agility
• Collaboration
• Influence
• Integrity
• Courage
• Gratitude
• Resilience.

You probably already have some or even many of these qualities. Leadership development, therefore, is all about continuously upgrading those you have and adding and refining those you don’t. That can be done through formal training or self-study, but it’s only the first step. The second and equality important step is to use those qualities at work. The more you do that, the more AI-proof you are and the more valuable you become to your employer. As CCL makes clear with its tagline, you will be creating possibilities only humans can achieve.

Foor for Thought,

Peter Weddle has authored or edited over two dozen books and been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.