Who’s ‘You’re Fired’-ing You Now?

Artificial Intelligence, d’uh (and insert your own HR joke here):

A January survey of 300 human resources leaders at U.S. companies revealed that 98 percent of them say software and algorithms will help them make layoff decisions this year. And as companies lay off large swaths of people — with cuts creeping into the five digits — it’s hard for humans to execute alone.

From skills-matching to skills no longer needed:

Big firms, from technology titans to companies that make household goods often use software to find the “right person” for the “right project,” according to Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard’s business school who co-leads its Managing the Future of Work initiative.

These products build a “skills inventory,” a powerful database on employees that helps managers identify what kinds of work experiences, certifications and skill-sets are associated with high performers for various job titles.

These same tools can help in layoffs. “They suddenly are just being used differently,” Fuller added, “because that’s the place where people have … a real … inventory of skills.”

And only matching skills needed seems straight forward (if not bloodless), it is not exactly without bias, and as one person interviewed for the article warned,

“The danger here is using bad data,” said Westfall, “[and] coming to a decision based on something an algorithm says and just following it blindly.”

Given that, leaders can’t let algorithms solely decide who to cut, and need to review suggestions to ensure it isn’t biased against people of color, women or old people — which would bring lawsuits.

“Don’t try to pass the buck to the software,” he said.

But they will try to pass the buck, “Don’t blame me, it was the algorithm!” Expect this to go to SCOTUS.

This entry was posted in Bad Tech, Bastards, CEO Bastards, Rat Bastards. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Who’s ‘You’re Fired’-ing You Now?

  1. Expect this to go to SCOTUS.

    So what was the traditional means of determining layoffs in 1789 or 1873, since this is apparently the only lens permitted to view our rights?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. osirisopto says:

    Ah, this explains the mass layoffs at FB, Twitter, etc.

    Silicon Valley just bit itself in the ass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, what explains the mass layoffs at Twitter, FB and Google is Phony Stark, Faceberg and Sundar Pikachu, err Pichai.

      Perfectly ordinary Natural Techbro “Dumbth”, nothing Artificial about it.

      Phony Stark has no idea what he’s doing, is flailing, and is substituting shitposting for running the company. (any company)

      Faceberg is desperately trying to turn Second Life 2.0 into a thing, and burning FB Meta down in the process.

      Sundar Pikachu is just desperately trying to find a thing Google can do other than advertising and search that will make money for them. Google is recapitulating the pre Steve Jobs II Apple wildly spinning out project after project with no real strategy other than “Someone else offers this thing so Google needs to do it too…three times with incompatible services we just randomly kill”

      (Anyone else remember Pink, Talingent, Copland, Opendoc (Cyberdog anyone? ) and 3,465 different Mac computer models, some with insanely short lifespans ? (The Apple IIvi…which lasted from September 1992 o February 1993.)

      As Steve would say: “He’s skating to where the puck IS”

      All three are seriously dysfunctional companies that are driving the (false) narrative of a looming recession that the Fed, GQP , and the oligarch’s lackey pressdeperately want to be true.

      Liked by 1 person

      • robginchicago says:

        WaPo just posted an article today from one of their “conservatives”, Megan McCardle, congratulating the Head Twit for firing 75% of Twitter staff and showing that the company can be run on 25% of former staffing levels. The powers-that-be have always sought to keep the workforce poor and desperate and look to Elon Musk to show them the way.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Good ol’ Megan McArgleBargle, determined to be fractally wrong every time. Sure you can fire 75% of the staff at someplace like twitter and it’ll run…for a while, at least, until something breaks and you cannot fix it because you fired the people who did that.

        But it’s not surprising that they think this way…it’s pretty much how the US infrastructure’s been treated for the last 70 years or so…

        Liked by 1 person

      • tengrain says:

        Faceberg wanted to create the Holodeck from ST TNG, but instead invented the worst reboot of Second-hand life. And so everyone else must pay for his mistake.




        Liked by 1 person

  3. ali redford says:

    OK, so. I’ve been a quiet fan of Tom Peters, a guy who helps/ed management be better management, because when I was young and looking up my particular ladder at that time, I was exposed to him and his supremely logical logic. Now, I’m not promising he hasn’t done/said something problematic, but I just looked him up to see what I could find. I found a twitter thread about AI here, https://twitter.com/tom_peters/status/1324492657553526786 ,
    in which he says what I was hoping to see him say (even though it’s old.) I also see he describes himself as an adherent to extreme humanism, which says a lot of positive to me. Heck, everyone I read here is such, and that’s why I love MPS.

    So that’s the background, with my heartiest apologies to anyone who knows of something that excludes or threatens somebody. The reason Tom Peters impressed me in the early 80s was because he stated that pre-hiring drug and mental/intelligence testing were an unnecessary expense. That’s because the management/interviewer should be good enough to know whether they should offer to hire from the interview, and the probation period will cover whatever may turn up. Easy peasy. Not that he got his way on that, but it made sense to me, and helped me strive to not rely on things that are a snapshot of the moment, and may not be accurate.

    FWIW. And thank you for the space, and the time-this is so long.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. robginchicago says:

    Business owners seem to want everybody to be “gig workers” to be brought on board for particular projects or needed skills, and then let go, if possible within 90 days, before unemployment insurance rights would kick in.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. <

    blockquote>Business owners seem to want everybody to be “disposable” to be brought on board for particular projects or needed skills


    Liked by 1 person

  6. tengrain says:

    Full disclosure: I spent a large chunk of my career developing software for HR and Payroll at the Big Database Company. I can tell you that recording skills is easy, searching for them is easy, but what was not easy was knowing what skills you wanted to record, and of course getting employees to disclose skills.

    The thing is, if you ask any first line manager who their most irreplaceable employee is, they could tell you that right off the top of their head. If you asked the same manager to predict who would be the most irreplaceable employee next year, they would be stumped (or lie).

    Just ask the managers at IBM circa Y2K how many of ‘em predicted that those vintage Cobol programmers they fired would be needed ever again.

    One of our customers —a big chip manufacturer since acquired by an even BIGGER chip manufacturer— constantly asked us to develop a mass-firing module because they really didn’t want to keep all the employees that came with their acquisitions. I don’t think even to this day that any software company makes such a thing, it would be a fast-track to HR lawsuits.



    Liked by 2 people

    • They can always choose the Microsoft Way: demand that all managers rank their reports top to bottom, then decimate them (in the correct Roman sense of decimate, well almost correct, I don’t actually THINK they executed them…)

      Didn’t matter if your team was the best-performing in the company or not, you lost 10% of them.

      Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.