Soon computers could hire people

The author

Tillmann Prüfer is a member of the editor-in-chief of “Zeit-Magazin”.

We’ve gotten very used to talking to computer screens over the past few months. I find it interesting how quickly a separate code for Zoom, Teams or Skype conferences has been established. For example, only beginners try to keep clicking through the Internet while sitting at the computer.

The risk of accidentally using the “split screen” function – and thus showing the rest of the workforce that you are secretly opening Amazon was looking for new underpants – is way too big. You never sit with your back to the door either, because who knows who will come in unexpectedly – and what condition this person is in.

It is also advisable to change your facial expression at regular intervals so that everyone can see that your own image is not frozen. If you do that, not much can go wrong. Sometimes the question arises why you still need the people sitting in front of the other computers. Couldn’t it be just as easy to confer with the computer alone? It is usually so predictable what happens in such sessions that it would probably make no noticeable difference.

You’d just have to make people less aware of the fact that they should turn their mic on or off, because that’s what is most talked about in video meetings. In some companies you can already confer with computers, I read in the “New York Times” – in job interviews.

If you want to apply, you have to sit in front of the laptop camera and answer the computer’s questions. The company’s employees no longer have to waste time asking job candidates for an interview, the software does that. After all, you have to meet umpteen candidates just to hire a single one.

It is praised that these procedures are also fairer because all job applicants have the same conditions. The classic job interview is very error-prone, because not every supervisor is equally good at the job interview and may ask poorly or unsettle the candidates. In front of the computer, however, everyone is equal.

However, there is the problem that the job videos still have to be evaluated by people. Ultimately, applicants also have to be hired by people. The question now is whether people are the better judges in the long term. After all, people are often guided by their prejudices in such decisions.

Most likely, computers will soon be hiring people – and then it won’t be long before devices remember that hiring other computers is much more effective. And then we finally don’t have to do video conferences anymore.

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