Feeds

Google's job robot weeds out puny humans

'I'm sorry, I can't hire you Dave...'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Church of the Algorithm, Google, is employing a robot to select the faithful.

According to the New York Times today, an algorithm scans job applications and ranks candidates on a score from 0 to 100. From next month, it will be used to screen all applications.

The Times quotes Google's "Vice President of People Operations" (as opposed to Machine Operations) , who explains -

"With traditional hiring methods, we were worried we will overlook some of the best candidates."

That's one way of putting it. Because the demand for jobs at Google outstrips the supply of vacancies, it's more accurate to say that the robot is simply accelerating the rejection process.

Google Network needs Troopers

Google is famous for its faith in reductionist, functional solutions. It even likes to suggest that such algorithms emerge spontaneously, full of natural goodness - and without apparent intervention by imperfect humans. Answering accusations of bias in Google News, the manager responsible for the service is on the record as explaining -

"The truth is, Google News doesn't have a point of view...It's a computer, and computers do not understand these topics the way humans do and can't be systematically biased in any direction." [see Google News' chief robot speaks out ]

(And they don't taste of bacon, either.)

However, as we discovered when we interviewed the creator of an "Artificial Intelligence Chat-bot", programmers who develop algorithms tend to encode their own shortcomings into the systems they create. [see Do Artificial Intelligence Chatbots look like their programmers? ]

And the Times confirms that the job-bot's selection criteria is based on surveys from existing staff. One of the indicators is ominously called "organizational citizenship". No square pegs in those round holes, then.

In Douglas Coupland's Microserfs, the company's monoculture is enforced by obedience to the cult of personality - top down. By contrast, Google appears to be developing its monoculture from the bottom-up. But it's still a monoculture - and one only likely to be reinforced by algorithmic rejection of "unsuitable" candidates.

As we discussed here recently, an algorithmically-minded corporation is ill-equipped likely to miss problems that can't be solved algorithmically. No robot can wish them away.

If you have an amusing experience of Google's recruitment practices - successful or otherwise - share it with us here. We'll set our own robot on the replies, and pick out the ones whose opinions most closely resemble our own.

(Just kidding). ®

Related link

Google Answer to Filling Jobs Is an Algorithm - NY Times

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?