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Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources: A Toolkit for Human Resources Professionals

In December 2021, The Tool Kit on Human Centred AI in Human Resources (HR) was published and is an output of a Project jointly led by the AI platform at the WEF-led C4IR centre in San Francisco, the C4IR Turkey and Baker McKenzie. The Project was also supported by a fulltime fellow from McGill University in Canada.

The Project was premised on an understanding that the field of HR will be impacted by the recent prominence of AI, which is closely tied to the success of machine learning. A report by CB Insights notes that, at the time of publication, there were over 250 different commercial HR-based tools available reflecting the creativity and innovation spurred by recent advancements in AI. These tools also create a confusing landscape for HR professionals, as most feel that they do not have the technical expertise required to evaluate them.
The Tool Kit addresses these concerns, providing an assessment checklist for HR professionals, focusing on assessing AI-based products and the organisational processes to support them. Furthermore, the Tool Kit provides information to advance three key goals:
⦁ To equip HR professionals with a basic understanding of AI to assist them in assessing AI-based tools.
⦁ To provide guidance on the responsible and ethical use of AI in HR, addressing the broad principles of privacy, fairness, transparency and expandability.
⦁ To help organisations use AI-based HR tools effectively.

The C4IR SA Centre contributed by hosting a workshop, mainly attended by the CSIR HR leadership, to assess the draft Tool Kit before it was published. A key contribution was the view that the Tool Kit should not recommend full autonomous systems and that AI-based HR systems be deployed as assistive technology to speed up some processes and take on new tasks, including personalised and tailored services.

Several organisations, including the CSIR, have shown interest in adopting the Tool Kit in guiding decision-making around the adoption of AI-based tools as well as refining the Tool Kit for specific application in South Africa. The starting point will be to pick an area of HR where the Tool Kit will first be applied, including identifying the tasks to be focused on and how the Tool Kit is positioned to help.

The White Paper proposes a new, human-centric approach to improving data availability. This approach was piloted by the City of Helsinki, which provided further inputs and refinements. The paper begins by exploring the trust relationships between the data subjects and data collectors, followed by an examination of why the health of such relationships is a critical prerequisite to flourishing human-centric data ecosystems. Finally, the White paper offers suggestions for how these ecosystems can be created and nurtured.

A key observation in the White Paper is that, by prioritising the values, needs and expectations of people, policymakers can drive meaningful actions with positive outcomes for society while maintaining the utmost respect for the people who are part of it. Overall, the White Paper provides frameworks, insights, and best practice for public sector employees and elected officials – from mayors and ministers to data scientists and service developers – to adapt and build systems that use data in responsible and innovative ways.

In March 2021, the C4IR SA joined the project with the Centre Head actively participating in project communities. The C4IR SA contributed to the discussion regarding trusted relationships and targeted interventions and their role in encouraging an innovative practice of proactive services, where service delivery is automatically triggered with the help of data and without the need for a manual request.

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An initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation, managed and hosted by the CSIR and affiliated to the World Economic Forum.

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