Yesterday, I was told by a business associate who is a big muckity muck at Viacom, that I needed a LinkedIn profile if I wanted to find a job. I mention her muckity muck status in hopes that I will be looked on as someone you want to associate with because I know successful people. Successful people working for companies you have heard of. She told me what HR people had told her, “First, thing we do is check to see if you have a LinkedIn profile to make sure you’re not a bot.” I responded to this information with a question, “Why are bots applying for jobs? What’s the angle?” Though associate is brilliant and has a master’s degree, she was stumped for an answer.
I slept on the question. I woke up this morning and set-up a LinkedIn profile. That’s when it occurred to me - LinkedIn must be the ones using bots to apply to jobs, thereby making their product useful. I must admit I have a similar theory about Norton Anti-Virus and their relation to the creation of computer viruses. Sure, it’s the information age, but somehow it still feels like the 1920s Little Italy and a protection racket. Honestly, people were able to network and find jobs without LinkedIn for all of human history. Unlike, other technological advances (the wheel, stone tools, electricity,computers in general, etc.) social media in all its iterations has not made socializing and networking easier. In fact, it has muddied it. Networking used to be designated to after work drinks, conferences, and conventions, now you do it in your cube (or open office space) while you are being paid to work. The other social media platforms have helped water down the word friend. It used to mean a person you know and could count and who could count on you. If it turned out you couldn’t count on them, you’d be mad and hurt and possibly stop talking to them. Now, a friend is a digital prop people use to help brand themselves.
But social media not adding to the productivity or workers is not the real problem. The problem is that we are declaring we are not bots. Which in 2017 is fine and supposedly helpful. But what happens when Artificial Intelligence comes into its own? When AI is running the HR department? Then won’t I want to possibly pretend I am in fact a bot? Curry favor with our computer overlords? Or at minimum keep the AI guessing if I am a human or one them.
Perhaps, we all be part bot in 20 years, with a memory drive attached to our brain stem. We might all be a sleeker more stylish version of Robot Cop. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a little uncomfortable about branding myself a human and not a bot. Because we all know what we put on the internet never dies, and the future is unknowable. Committing now to human might be beneficial in the short term, but could be disastrous in the long term.