Technically HR: Meet the newest C-suite exec: chief AI officer

Cloud-based staffing and outsourcing firm Cloudstaff hires a “CAIO” to spearhead AI deployment.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

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HR pros have seen countless stories about how AI is primed to dramatically change the world of work, but how that tech can be used in a way that’s beneficial for a company and its workforce is still a bubbling question for many.

Maybe companies need a tech guru to spearhead how AI might best support employees or be used to transform workflows?

That’s where Richard Lyons comes in. Lyons—a former Googler who previously led the machine learning team at YouTube—joined the C-suite at staffing and outsourcing firm Cloudstaff this month to oversee the company’s approach to AI, both with an eye for clients and its workforce.

“Machine learning and data science has been around for 20-plus years. This is not new. This has been building up for a long, long time,” said Tevis Paget, Cloudstaff’s CTO. “We needed to invest in not just machine learning and buying and aligning with products in the market and emerging products, but actually to be a leader in the field and our industry.”

Paget hopes the tech company’s deployment of more AI capabilities will “supercharge” the workforce, and positioning an exec to oversee how the tech is developed and used will help to make sure both that it’s done ethically but also is aligned with the company’s business goals.

“In order to add value to your service or product, you need to have a more targeted approach to what you’re going to be using AI for. And that’s what we’re doing at the moment within Cloudstaff…creating an AI model that allows us to match people with jobs, candidates with clients,” Lyons said of Cloudstaff’s first priorities.

Lyons said at the moment Cloudstaff is focused on implementing AI technologies to boost three main groups of stakeholders: people looking for jobs, clients looking for candidates, and Cloudstaff’s own employees to “reduce the friction between those people who want to move forward in whatever process [they’re] involved in.”

To “improve the work experience for everybody,” Lyons’ first objective is to help the company construct AI and machine learning to help reduce the “busy work” and provide administrative support along the way.

Zoom out. The fear that technological advancements could make jobs obsolete grows with the deployment of most new tech (we see you, grocery store self-checkout lines). AI is no different.

But as companies begin exploring the way AI can be used alongside employees, many technologists and C-suite execs see it as a new way to boost productivity and allow employees to focus on tasks that have more impact on business goals and their own professional growth.

“There’s a lot of fear around…AI, and how it’s going to steal jobs,” Paget said. “This fear does seem to occur each time there’s a new significant technology that comes out, and we believe it’s constructive and positive…Absolutely, this will make us better people.”

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

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