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How might AI and Blockchain impact on HR?

18 June 2018 #Employment #Information Technology

Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and Blockchain are becoming more prominent, with ever-increasing uses. But how could such developments impact HR?

Artificial Intelligence

Everyday use of AI continues to increase, with common examples being in every day technologies such as ‘Siri’ for iPhone and ‘Alexa’ for Amazon.

AI refers to the instances where a machine demonstrates intelligence and executes functions as humans. Companies are looking towards how such technologies could evolve their businesses.

One possibility is that AI may start being used for recruitment and onboarding.

However, such uses in recruitment may have their hurdles. For example, the GDPR (which came into force last month) restricts the uses on automated decision making (i.e. where there is no human input) which have significant effects on individuals (such as whether to offer them a job or forward them to an interview). To be able to use this, candidates need to be made aware of the automated decision making beforehand and organisations will either need explicit consent (which in an employer/candidate scenario may be difficult to show), or it must be ‘necessary’ to enter the contract. The convenience for HR of filtering down hundreds (or even thousands) of applications for a role using a machine is very unlikely to be deemed ‘necessary’. Individuals also have the right to request that any decision made is reviewed by a human. We expect that HR will therefore need to review or oversee any decisions made by AI.

Significant work would need to be put in at the initial stages of AI programming to limit the risks of unconscious bias being present. Studies to date have given mixed results on how AI may impact on workplace diversity. Any uses of AI are far more likely to compliment, rather than replace, the key role HR play in organisations.


Blockchains are rising in use and prominence. Blockchains are created by having a repeatedly growing number of records, called ‘blocks’ which are linked and secured between them by ‘chains’ using cryptography. They are not attributed to a single device, so can be used by multiple users simultaneously.

Blockchains were originally created to support the digital currency ‘Bitcoin’ and have been used for smart contracts, since they are incorruptible and can be linked to many other chains.

For HR, potential uses could include providing employees with a complete and reliable record list of their qualifications, experience and work performance which can be accessed anywhere and at any time.

A further use may be for cyber-security purposes and fraud prevention in HR, albeit given the size of many blockchains, some predictions state they make computation much slower and far more expensive than on a traditional computer. Nevertheless, blockchains are expected to boost productivity by diminishing the burden of heavy data processes like VAT administration and payrolls.

The rise of technology in the workforce is ever increasing. For HR, such technologies should be embraced as they may find their processes can be streamlined, giving them more time to focus on the elements of their role which require human input.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Helen Beech

Helen Beech

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Employment team
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