The emergence of computer programmes that predict personality types isn’t something to be celebrated, argues Tim Gibson
By Tim Gibson
Call me an old stick in the mud, but the thought of using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict personality types fills me with horror. It speaks of a world in which people are boxed in, by machines no less: one in which our very essence appears to be fixed, just because we tend to approach decisions in a certain way or move our eyes in a particular direction when speaking.
|According to reports, a new type of AI has emerged that can track a person’s eye movements and draw conclusions about their personality.|
Yep, you read that correctly. According to reports, a new type of AI has emerged that can track a person’s eye movements and draw conclusions about their personality. Within minutes, the technology can tell you whether they’re introvert or extrovert, how they tend to make decisions, and how organised they’re likely to be.
Other software fulfils a similar purpose by reference to linguistic analysis: it uses algorithms to assess people’s answers to stock questions, developing a personality profile on that basis.
Meanwhile, the Crystal app uses a blend of traditional personality-type questions and analysis of social media interactions and texts to develop a personality profile. This is then used to shape the way people communicate with each other.
Crystal says its tech will help teams function more effectively, and can also improve interactions with clients and prospects. Its argument is that, if you understand a person’s preferences before interacting with them, you can tailor how you communicate with them.
This gets to the heart of my reservations about the technology. Because, surely, if you’re tempering your style for the sake of appealing to another personality type, you’re not being true to yourself? And besides, who’s to say that the person you’re engaging with agrees with the AI conclusions regarding what makes them tick?
Perhaps my biggest concern is with personality type testing in general. I’ve sat in one too many meetings in my time where people have uttered phrases like, “Well, the trouble is, I’m an [insert personality type from one of the many testing methodologies] and that means I simply can’t work this way.”
My point is that personality types can very easily become self-fulfilling and constraining. If you’re told that you’re an introvert who doesn’t feel energised by working as part of a team, for example, it’d be only natural for you to avoid team-working scenarios wherever possible. But what if you’re actually brilliant at working alongside other people, with a unique perspective that delivers amazing results? Get too fixed on your “introvert” personality type and you may never realise just how good you are n that context.
|Human interactions will be governed by machines, rather than the other way around.|
To think that machines will now be analysing human beings and drawing conclusions of this ilk feels like a step too far. It’s worse than Big Brother, because it’s not just about machines being used to monitor us. The AI analyses will become determinative of a person’s self-perception, and of their view of other people. Human interactions will be governed by machines, rather than the other way around. I’m not sure I like the sound of that at all.
So while I can see that AI has a crucial role to play in automating processes that would take a human being much longer to complete, I don’t think personality testing is the right sort of focus.
If you want to get a handle on someone’s personality, want to understand what makes them tick and how they’re likely to respond to certain situations, here’s a novel idea: have a conversation with them, ask them questions about themselves and get to know them. You’ll soon work out if you gel.
Then again, I would say that. We ENFPs are all the same.
Published: 17 April 2019
© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd
If you liked this piece, you may enjoy: Five ways AI is changing the recruitment industry
You may also like: 10 jobs of the future
|Salary:||£29,000 - £30,000 per annum|
Just Recruitment is seeking an enthusiastic Assistant Branch Manager to join a company based in Chelmsford.
This is an excellent opportunity to join a growing organisation - offering a competitive salary and company bonus. Monday to Friday, 7.30am - 5pm and every other Saturday morning - overtime is paid.
Company bonus scheme.
Previous experience within a Builders / Plumbers merchants is essential.
|Sector:||Engineering and Manufacturing
|Salary:||£30,000 - £40,000 per annum|
Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Project Lead / Manager to join a company based in Sudbury Suffolk, on a fixed-term contract basis.
You will be an experienced project manager working with one of the company’s strategic suppliers, to move key electrical raw material components from their facility in the UK to the one in Romania.
The project manager will be the key liaison between the supplier and the company and is expected to keep the supplier on track with the expectations and standards of the team.
You will have experience in working within a manufacturing environment and moving either manufacturing lines or supply lines across borders.
You will also have Medical device or Pharmaceutical experience.
We are looking at 6-12 month fix term contract with relevant notice periods.
Salary is negotiable depending on experience.
|Sector:||Public Service and Administration
|Salary:||Competitive depending on experience|
Just Recruitment is looking for an Administrator on behalf of a company based in Sudbury.
The role involves being part of a small and friendly team on a part-time basis, working 2-3 days per week.
Duties to include:
May evolve to include other duties and responsibilities.
|Sector:||Creative Arts and Design
|Salary:||£25,000 - £30,000 per annum|
Are you a skilled designer looking for your next role?
Do you have luxury branding/magazine experience – including motion graphics (aftereffects) & digital design (social media etc)?
As a creative team member, you will be required to contribute to the wider creative thinking of a business based in Colchester, improving designs or presentations whilst working to tight deadlines.
You will be required to work in collaboration with the wider studio team and furthermore with the other departments across the business to produce the best possible outcome for each project worked on.
You will also be contributing towards the design presentations, so attention to detail and high standards in your work is a must.
Knowledge and skills:
This is an excellent opportunity for a creative individual to join a fast-paced organisation on the outskirts of Colchester.
Offering a great package - depending on skills and experience - free parking is available on site.