Published 04 September, 2020

Artificial Intelligence – An Enabler or a Replacement for HR? (5 minutes read)

A popular scene from the movie 3 Idiots had the character played by Aamir Khan (Rancho) claiming that everything around us is a machine. From a zip to an aeroplane, almost everything that we observe or use in our daily lives is a machine.

That particular scene clicked with all of us as we agreed with what Rancho was trying to make his professor and the audience understand. Hence when Artificial Intelligence gained popularity, it wasn’t a hard concept for us to decipher, barring the technicalities. Of course, there have been more examples of Artificial Intelligence in numerous movies, the biggest one was the Matrix.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines instead of natural intelligence displayed by living beings”. Just like any other machine, AI was created to make our lives easier. And as it is omnipresent, AI has found its place in HR. Rather the HR industry has opened its doors for AI.

Here’s how AI  can potentially help with various HR  and Hiring activities. It will also help create more job opportunities:

1. Screening Relevant Candidates’ Resumes

The HR function begins as soon as a candidate send his/her resume in, and AI comes into the picture simultaneously. Going through resumes of numerous candidates is a task which is both meticulous and tedious. AI can make this process easy by accurately recognizing only the relevant information from a candidate’s resume which matches the position the HR is hiring for.

2. Enhanced communication for Employer and Employee

“Chatbots”, an AI backed facility, can be spotted on almost every website these days, and is used to solve queries or tend to complaints.

In an organisation, chatbots are used by the HR professionals to know about the concerns, and needs of the employee. Further, it is used to review the performance of an employee. Chatbots eases analysations of performances or concerns of an employee, and the process is incessant.

3. Creating New Jobs

According to World Economic Forum, the demand for unique human skills will grow, and even though 75 million jobs will be displaced, 133 million jobs will be created.

More emphasis will be given to emotional and technical intelligence, like technology design, programming, etc. Data analytics, software development, social media specialists, are some of the jobs created by Artificial Intelligence.

4. Facilitating training through Virtual Reality

When it comes to training the employees for the job in hand, Virtual Reality is being adopted by many companies. Verizon uses virtual reality to train store managers in case there is a store robbery. Traditional training lacks the proper equipment, and requires for the employees to leave most things to their imagination, while virtual reality gives them a replica of a situation which might occur in future. Hence it produces better results.

The Hype and The Reality

While the potential of using AI to benefit HR processes is huge, sadly there is very limited implementation of real Artificial Intelligence in organizations. There are two main reasons for it :-


A lot of tech companies are packaging simple automation products as Artificial Intelligence. Due to the lack of sufficient understanding and due diligence, organizations end up procuring these products only to realize that it is not serving their purpose.


The initial investments to procure and implement a genuine AI solution is still quite high as of today. While the benefits in quality as well as costs are manifold but it gets recovered over a period of time. There needs to be more AI providers offering SaaS (Software as a Service) models, as a lot of companies won’t be ready to make that upfront investment. Also, the penetration would be lower in small and mid sized companies.

Below is an infographic which shows the latest data about how career pages of employers are not optimized due to lack of sufficient personalization which can be achieved through AI

Though there are these challenges, it is still safe to say that AI is being highly accepted in the HR industry,  as research found that 60% of workers were most excited about AI.

Some companies have already used AI to its advantage:

  • The DBS Talent Acquisition team created JIM (Jobs Intelligence Maestro), a virtual recruitment bot powered by artificial intelligence used to conduct candidate screening for those applying to be wealth planning managers, a high volume job in the consumer bank.
  • PwC forecasts 20% of executives at U.S. companies with artificial intelligence initiatives reported that they will roll out AI across their business this year and expect AI investment to both re-imagine jobs and work processes as well as grow profits and revenue.

While AI is one of the buzzwords in the corporate world, there is still a long way to go when it comes to significant adoption of Artificial Intelligence. Hence the question of AI replacing all of HR as a function is very far from reality.

AI doesn’t come without its shortcomings. The most obvious one being the lack of emotions. Also, it comes with a risk of data security, information getting hacked can lead to severe consequences.

All being said, AI definitely is a welcome change in the HR fraternity, but the fact remains that ‘Human Resources’ cant exist without ‘Human’. The primary function of an HR personnel is to deal with human emotions and cater to them, which requires deep level of understanding. AI makes the process easier, while an HR holds the entire process together.

Accountability of human capital would still rest with the HR personnel of organizations in the years to come. Artificial Intelligence can be a very effective enabler and not a replacement for the HR fraternity.

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