Saturday, October 30, 2021

Hilton hotels put staff selection in the hands of a robot

Connie Robot

The Hilton hotel brand is embroiled in a controversy over its decision to put the employee selection process in the hands of a machine, a robot. This isn't the first time the corporation has sparked debate over its technology choices. The hotel company unveiled a machine dubbed Connie to replace the work of bellhops months ago, and the unions already opposed.

Now that tourism is beginning to recover after a year and a half of being blighted by the international Covid-19 outbreak, the industry is embroiled in yet another issue, this time over the use of artificial intelligence to hire staff by some hotel chains. It has already been implemented at Hilton Hotels.

Workers have been outraged by this decision since the hotel chain's strategy could create a precedent, and they do not want employment selection to be "in the hands of algorithms and robots."

The Hiltons have recruited the tech firm Hire Vue, which will issue "employability" scores to prospective hopefuls based on the language they use, their facial expressions, and their tone of voice during the interview. Of course, this is not a one-on-one conversation.

The job applicant stands in front of a screen for facial recognition while answering a series of questions, the replies to which will be scrutinized for both their words and tone of voice. It takes only 30 minutes to complete the process, and the robot can save up to 500,000 data samples to evaluate applications.

Connie is a robot.

Unions have criticised the prominent hotel chain's move, claiming that "putting personnel selection in the hands of an algorithm" is unjustified since "the algorithm does not grasp certain particularities that do not render someone unable to work."

Connie's agreement

This isn't the first time the corporation has stirred up controversy by employing a robot. Connie, a miniature humanoid robot named after Hilton founder Conrad Hilton, was unveiled to the world a few months ago. Connie uses Watson's knowledge and the WayBlazer travel platform to advise customers on hotel features and give local recommendations.

The robotic concierge is now stationed near the front desk of the Hilton McLean in Virginia, and it assists guests using a combination of Watson APIs, including Dialogue, Speech to Text, and Natural Language Classifiers. Surprisingly, the more she interacts with guests, Connie is able to learn, adapt, and enhance her recommendations. Hotel employees also have access to a transcript of Connie's conversation, which allows them to improve their quality of service even further.


Article By Gerluxe Image: usatoday

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