The issue of Artificial Intelligence

Last week, I had dinner with Tony Wakerman, a senior manager of a large technology company. He explained how his company has been successfully using Artificial intelligence (AI).

Tony said: “We use AI to help us find the best workers for our company. Our special AI software searches thousands of resume to identify the best candidates.” I asked: “What is the difference between your AI software and the traditional “keywords” matching software that has been used for many years?”

Tony explained: “No it is NOT the typical search for matching keywords. Our special machine learning algorithm is trained to learn about the job descriptions, related skills, and specific experiences that we need. After that, it starts by going over many publications and multi-media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebooks, Twitter, Instagram etc. to find a list of people who have written about specific areas then it searches the list of resumes to find if any of these people are applying for the job and invite them to come in for an interview. The traditional search engine that uses “Keyword” matching software between the job description and the resume is already obsolete. With AI, we know much more about the candidates that we want to hire. Occasionally, the AI software finds a few excellent candidates but they are not applying for the job so we contact them, ask them to come to our company and convince them to work for us.”

I laughed: “In that case, are you stealing workers of another company? Tony also laughed: “That is the “new game” in Silicon Valley. Every company is stealing workers from others because there is a critical shortage of AI workers and companies need them to grow their business. A few months ago, we found several very good AI people from India and China, our software reviewed their written articles online as well as their resume on LinkedIn so we decide to invite them to our company in San Francisco. We discussed our challenging works and offer them “something that they cannot refuse.” In the end, we hire seven out of these ten invited AI experts. Of course, Baidu and Infosys were not happy with us. Today, the recruiting of skilled workers is becoming a war between companies for specific talents.”

I asked: “What can your AI software do besides recruiting skilled workers?” He explained: “After hiring workers, our AI software can keep them productive by tracking how they handle their jobs. We track how they use their computers. Our AI software collects virtually everything done on a computer from web browsing, email, chat, keystrokes, documents as well as applications that they use. It also helps managers look into the job performance of each worker by analyzing their work then scores them for positive or negative points. Our AI system can track workers around the office as well as their movement in our building, and send an alert if a worker violates the company policy such as people without proper credentials enters a sensitive area.”

I was shocked: “So the AI system is now a “Big Brother” watching everything like in the book 1984 by George Orwell? Tony did not seem concerned: “We are developing many sensitive systems, we need to make sure that security is important. Only authorized workers can go into our special laboratory or special work areas. We have thousands of workers and only a few can get access to these areas as we need to be careful with people who may steal our inventions. AI technology can help us to prevent intellectual theft. You may like it or do not like it and everybody has a different opinion. This is not something new as some countries already used similar systems for years. For example, China and Russia are using it, not in companies, but to track their people. There is a difference between tracking productivity and work within a company and tracking what people do in their lives.”


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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