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Foundation Spotlight: AI in the Workplace

Milton D. Hakel, SIOP Foundation President

The SIOP Foundation Trustees have been thinking about how to work smarter within the Foundation in particular and the world of SIOP and I-O praxis in general. Praxis is the key, and it is what makes I-O unique: We value application and science equally without giving greater status to either. 

To date, the SIOP Foundation has supported R&D about the human impacts, benefits, and costs of artificial intelligence technologies in several ways. The Foundation’s Horizon Forum has identified a number of issues that are key to CHROs and could be better informed by our research.  See https://0-www-siop-org.library.alliant.edu/Foundation.   All four finalists in the 2020 Visionary Grant competition proposed projects investigating human facets of AI, and all of the nine funded Anti-Racism Grants are investigating systemic and algorithmic biases as focal issues.

As we look to the future, we believe the introduction of artificial intelligence into HR practices demands the attention of I-O psychologists.  The SIOP Foundation has convened a working committee to discuss and refine a statement about the “use of AI technologies in the workplace.” Artificial intelligence is a gigantic wave surging through the world of work, and we want to ensure that the I-O profession helps shape the ways in which business and industry integrate AI into their practices. 

Through the AI in the Workplace Ad Hoc Committee, we expect to develop a strategy for generating funds for supporting research into AI and the identification of best practices so that leaders have evidence-based findings that combine the best of theory and practice to guide them.

The committee began its work in July. We discussed several applications of AI, including employee selection, job analysis, training, and employee surveys.  All are important, and we will be addressing each of these topics quickly.  To do so, we created four separate work groups, one for each topic.  Each group will begin by defining the current state of affairs regarding the use of AI, providing initial answers to questions such as these:

  • How is AI being used in this field? 
  • Are there processes that are labeled AI that we believe are off base?
  • What data are used as input? 
  • What data should be included, and which are generally unreliable, intrusive, unethical, or otherwise off-limits?
  • What technological tools and methods are used in the applications in this field?
  • What concerns do we have regarding these tools and the methodology used to develop them?
  • What is happening on the legal front in the form of laws, policies, and proclamations? 
  • What is our view of this emerging legislation?
  • What research and practice questions do we as I-O psychologists have?
  • What tools or documents will be useful in informing I-O psychologists, members of the legal profession, HR, and other members of the public? 
  • What would be effective next steps? 
  • What is a rough time line for next steps?
  • Who else should be included in the next steps (e.g., software engineers, IT professionals, media production houses, statisticians, legal and regulatory authorities, HR)?


Moving I-O Ahead

The SIOP Foundation’s mission is to connect donors with I-O professionals to create smarter workplaces.  We need you to volunteer to assist us in addressing the challenges posed by AI technologies—let us know about your interest via email, or text or call me at the number below.

Another way to move I-O ahead is to contribute now: The Visionary Circle seeks contributions of $1,000 and larger to fund the second $100,000 Visionary Grant, to be awarded during the 2022 SIOP Conference–contribute at https://0-www-siop-org.library.alliant.edu/Foundation/Visionary-Circle/Make-a-Pledge.

The world of work needs I-O informed evidence-based praxis as never before.

Milt Hakel, President, mhakel@bgsu.edu, 419-819-0936

Rich Klimoski, Vice-President, rklimosk@gmu.edu

Nancy Tippins, Secretary, nancy@tippinsgroup.com

Leaetta Hough, Treasurer, leaetta@msn.com

Adrienne Colella, Communications Officer, acolella@tulane.edu

Mirian Graddick-Weir, Trustee, mgraddickweir76@gmail.com

Bill Macey, Trustee, wmacey9@gmail.com

John C. Scott, Trustee, JScott@APTMetrics.com

The SIOP Foundation
440 E Poe Rd Ste 101
Bowling Green, OH 43402-1355
419-353-0032   Fax: 419-352-2645
Email: SIOPFoundation@siop.org

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