The new artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT has been garnering headlines, including reports that Microsoft Corp. plans to invest $10 billion in OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT. And while AI tools are already available in staffing and the workforce solutions ecosystem, some industry leaders are already looking at what ChatGPT means for the contingent workforce.
What exactly is ChatGPT? It’s described as an AI tool that enables users to ask questions in everyday language, and the AI will generate a response that appears as if a human wrote it. The AI can not only respond to queries but also produce poems, compose college essays, write code and more.
The full impact of ChatGPT and similar AI is unknown at this point. We will have to see how people and businesses begin to use it. Still, looking ahead, it appears ChatGPT could affect the staffing industry in a number of ways, according to Brian Wallins, research director at Staffing Industry Analysts.
In the near term, the biggest thing appears to be how quickly ChatGPT is changing the perception of AI, Wallins says. We are likely to see AI-based tools come to market at an accelerated pace, along with increased adoption and investment.
And interest in AI has already been on the rise. Last month, CNBC reported tech investors are pouring billions of dollars into startups specializing in AI.
Waynn Lue, VP of engineering at Wonolo, an on-demand job marketplace, noted he is seeing growing interest in AI.
“There’s been just this renaissance in AI in the last year,” Lue says.
In terms of staffing and other parts of the workforce solutions ecosystem, one use might be in situations for which a large amount of copy must be generated, according to Lue. Take job descriptions: ChatGPT could be a starting point when writing them, though Lue says users will still likely have to put on the finishing touches.
“In general, I think you’re going to want to humanize what is written,” he says. “There’s a voice to ChatGPT that is a little bit different than what you want.”
Lue also offers a caveat in that it’s easier for AI to surface existing knowledge. It’s another thing to do something creative, something that hasn’t been done before.
But AI is definitely worth watching. Technology is essential in business, and AI is becoming an essential part of the business technology toolbox.
Lue says Wonolo is always exploring the ways AI can improve the experience for Wonoloers and customers, such as making connections between workers and job assignments more efficient.
Hans Bukow sees AI such as ChatGPT affecting his part of the workforce solutions ecosystem: assessments. Bukow is co-founder and CEO of eTeki Inc., a tech interviewing-as-a-service marketplace.
The concern: Job candidates could use ChatGPT to come up with answers to coding tests. Bukow’s firm uses IT professionals to interview other IT professionals on skills. But could an automated system be fooled?
Bukow says that question highlights the importance of humans in conducting assessments and compares it to the concern about students using ChatGPT for their homework. On the other hand, people were concerned years ago when calculators came out and students could avoid working out math problems themselves. Now, you can just ask AI the same questions your teachers ask you, and it provides sophisticated responses.
“I think we’ve taken a big leap; it’s much bigger than anybody quite anticipated,” Bukow says.
Barbara Hyman, CEO at Sapia.ai, a global provider of AI-powered automated interviews via chat, agrees that ChatGPT is raising awareness of AI.
Looking at the impact, Hyman says it’s less about ChatGPT and more about the need for the industry to adopt technology when it comes to recruiting. Technology such as AI can assess job candidates more quickly, more efficiently and at less cost than people and at scale.
“What it is going to do is change the role of the human,” Hyman told SIA.
She likens it to travel agents, whose jobs drastically changed with the launch of internet travel websites such as Expedia.com. Travel agents still exist today, but now they provide much more of a concierge service — curating great holiday experiences rather than just booking airplane flights.
“It’s a total rewrite of the role of the recruiter,” Hyman said.
We also asked ChatGPT itself what it thought its impact would be on contingent workforce managers.
“ChatGPT’s natural language processing capabilities can assist contingent workforce managers in a variety of ways, such as:
- “Automating repetitive tasks, such as answering common questions from contractors or tracking time and attendance.
- “Providing quick and accurate information, such as pay rates, benefits, and compliance requirements, to contractors and other temporary workers.
- “Identifying and recruiting top talent from a larger pool of candidates, by automating the initial screening and sorting process.
- “Streamlining communication with contractors and vendors, by providing an easy-to-use interface for sending and receiving messages.
“Overall, ChatGPT can help contingent workforce managers save time and increase efficiency, while improving the experience for contractors and vendors.”