Brandon Wirtz was supposed to be a fifth-generation teacher. Indeed, the founder and CEO of artificial intelligence engine developer Recognant is a teacher — of robots, not people — and not the factory floor variety of bots, either. Instead, Wirtz sees AI changing a very human process: human resources.

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SwissCognitive LogoTo reach the place where artificial intelligence and HR meet, Wirtz spends his days educating his various AIs about everything from how to order pizza to what an appropriate pickup line might be. His bots — “Loki,” “Lobby” and “Molly” — are at different stages of independence and aptitude. Loki, who identifies as female, is perhaps Wirtz’s favorite bot — and the most likely to drive him crazy with questions.

Learning trough Playing

The games Wirtz plays with Loki — “I Spy” is a particular favorite — might seem frivolous, but they serve as the basis for the bot’s education in how humans think and communicate . And though it may seem unimportant that Loki understands Santa Claus, zombies and Instagram, all of that matters when it comes to artificial intelligence and human resources if she — or a bot like her — is going to work in HR dealing with prospective employees. “I know this seems creepy, but it isn’t,” Wirtz laughed.

Highly qualified interviewer

In his world view, Wirtz believes HR is largely broken and AI is going to fix it. “One of the biggest problems in HR is that you have an interviewer, and they know nothing about the particular job they’re hiring for,” he explained. “Lots of times, an HR person is faking knowledge about the job, so they don’t know enough to know what keywords to be listening for.” Even if a bot has never heard of, say, Photoshop, it can quickly search the internet and arm itself with enough information to know if an applicant using Corel Draw may lack the necessary experience, Wirtz said. “The AI doesn’t have to understand the conversation but can pass the transcription on to the hiring manager and indicate this was not an acceptable answer,” he added. “AI is a way to get deeper interactions with interviewees, and it doesn’t matter what they talk about because the AI is an expert or at least a jack-of-all-trades.” […]