Blog Post

These Tech Trends Will Transform Work by 2020

Ira S. Wolfe

President, Success Performance Solutions

This year will go down in history — but it may be nothing compared to the next four.

Before the next race for the White House, we're poised to witness a big jump in technological advancement: the widespread rise of social media, artificial intelligence, an extreme increase in devices and sensors, advanced digital avatars and more. While this election felt personal to almost everyone, Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize and Singularity University, thinks the next election will be literally personal thanks to technology.

But I'm not talking about politics or public policy here, and these trends won't only impact the election. They will also impact our workplaces, and how companies engage with their employees. Here's how.

1) Social Media Will Continue to Explode

In 2016, 78 percent of Americans had a social media profile. The number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018. What does this mean for talent acquisition and job seeking?

Artificial intelligence is learning to mine every tweet, post, reply and like. It will scrape our social profiles and track what articles we read and videos we watch. It will analyze our interests, attitudes, favorite subjects and behavior.

This will enable targeting, attracting and engaging candidates to become exponentially more sophisticated and accurate.

2) Artificial Intelligence Will Grow by 10X

According to Diamandis, Facebook Messenger now has more than 11,000 "chatbots," where an algorithm communicates with end users over Messenger as if it were a person. Voice interfaces like Siri, Cortana, Google and Alexa are getting closer to carrying out in-depth conversations. Thanks to machine learning and the exponentially increasing amount of data about yourself that you're generating each year, these AI's will learn how to optimally communicate with you in such a personalized fashion that you'd swear it's your closest friend. They'll incorporate your ideologies, preferences, linguistic styles and slang, favorite topics and content and even inside jokes into the conversation.

Screening candidates will be conducted by the likes of Viv, a next generation AI assistant, which flawlessly handles a number of complex requests, well beyond just simple comprehension. In one specialized form, Viv can actually schedule meetings. So an applicant applies by interacting with Viv who assesses a candidate's fit and then schedules a follow-up interview with a hiring manager. Based on Viv's interview, "she" provides you with interview questions and suggestions on what you should listen to and observe. (Note: I use Viv as one example. Viv is not the end-all-and-be-all AI assistant. Microsoft, Google, Facebook and many others are building new platforms and devices as well.)

3) Digital Avatars Will Become Photorealistic

If you think detecting lying on a resume or during the interview is tough to detect, watch out for this trend. Recruiters and hiring managers will need to become exponentially better at interviewing.

According to Diamandis, "researchers out of Stanford were able to take videos of humans and, in real-time, manipulate their faces to match expressions of another person in the lab. We'll be able to render any face to do and say anything, and you won't be able to tell it's fake."

The good news is that avatar technology will be matched by facial recognition software and biometric sensors that will help detect and interpret inconsistencies. Of course, these two technologies combined will likely blur and disrupt the protections and limitations of current employment law: The best outcome will walk a fine line between invasion of a candidate's privacy and the much improved ability to hire the right fit by eliminating present-day unconscious bias.

To learn more about the massive transformations that will take place over the next few years, download my free white paper When the Shift Hits Your Plan.

Photo: Twenty20

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