Feeds

Google's job robot weeds out puny humans

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

The next step in data security

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.