Hundreds of former Google employees gathered on an online platform to grieve about the rather chaotic fashion in which they were suddenly fired, according to the Washington Post.
During an interaction on Discord, the staff discussed how management decided who would be let go. One ex-employee wondered if a “mindless program meticulously designed not to violate any laws” had decided who got the axe, one ex-employee wondered?
On the other hand, Google claims that “no algorithm was involved” in their job-cut decisions. Nevertheless, former employees are not wrong to be concerned, as a slew of artificial intelligence capabilities has become established in the workplace.
Machine learning techniques are used by human resource managers to analyze millions of employment-related data points and generate recommendations for whom to interview, hire, promote, or attract and keep.
According to a January study of 300 human resource professionals at U.S. corporations, 98 percent believe software and algorithms will assist them in making layoff decisions this year. And, as corporations lay off large numbers of employees — with cuts in the five digits — it’s difficult for humans to accomplish alone.
According to Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard’s business school who co-leads its Managing the Future of Work initiative, big corporations, from technology giants to small businesses, often utilize algorithms to choose the “right person” for the “right project.”
Companies like Eightfold AI use algorithms to assess billions of data gleaned from online resumes and other talent databases, helping recruiters identify candidates whose applications might go unnoticed.
According to experts, the dependence on software has sparked a debate about the role of algorithms in job loss and how transparent businesses should be about the reasons for job loss.
For years, tech employees had their pick of jobs. However, HR departments have been “overwhelmed since the pandemic,” and they will continue to adopt technology to lessen their workload, predicts Zack Bombatch, an employment lawyer and participant in Disrupt HR.
Given this, managers cannot just choose to fire people based on algorithms; they must also evaluate ideas to make sure they do not discriminate against women, people of color, or the elderly, as this might result in legal action.