Hugh Pickens writes:
Quentin Hardy reports at the NYT that a leading maker of cloud-based software for running corporate human resources and financial operations has announced new products that provide the kind of data analysis that Netflix uses to recommend movies, LinkedIn has to suggest people you might know, or Facebook needs to put a likely ad in front of you. One version of the software, called Insight Applications, predicts which high-performing employees are likely to leave a company in the next year; it then offers possible actions (more money, new job) that might make them stay. "We’re surprised how accurately we can predict someone will leave a job," says Mohammad Sabah, director of data science at Workday. The goal is to predict future business outcomes to take advantage of opportunities and cut risk levels. One future product may be the ability to predict who will and won’t make their sales quotas, and suggest who should be hired to improve the outcome. "Making an employee happy, improving the efficiency of a company these are hard problems that affect corporations."
This reminds me of the story about an angry father confronting Target for the maternity-tailored coupons his daughter received.
Imagine the consequences if our automated tools are getting this good at predicting human behavior. Success was once the exclusive domain of the highly insightful, skilled, or entrepreneurial. With tools like this, pointy-haired idiots will be even less subjected to the selection criterion of good judgement. And what will the psychopaths of the world do with power? Ugh.