The process of looking for a job is never easy for anyone involved. Hiring managers have to vet every applicant, looking for the perfect person to join the team. On the flip side, job applicants spend hours each and every day looking for and applying to jobs. This can be a tedious process, especially when it seems impossible to find jobs within a particular field of interest.
That’s why companies like untapt exist: to make this process easier for job applicants. untapt offers a next generation digital hiring platform for technologists and employers that matches potential hires up with suitable job postings. The data-driven platform uses complete candidate and hiring-side data sets to create connections between tech talent and open positions.
untapt attributes much of its success to artificial intelligence (AI). This past year, AI has seen many new uses—Amazon’s Alexa, IBM’s Watson, Google Home and so on—and untapt has also been using it to facilitate its data-driven findings.
TMC recently caught up with untapt CEO and cofounder Ed Donner to discuss these trends in AI, as well as his predictions for 2017. Will AI revolutionize the job search in 2017? Donner thinks it will certainly play a large role in shaping tech next year. Our full exchange can be found below:
What’s in store for 2017? Any new products (teaser information you can provide?), events, etc. or something you’re excited for in the market?
In October, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, “when I look ahead, it’s clear, we’re shifting from mobile-first to AI-first”. The AI-first paradigm will affect many industries, including the talent market. You can expect several announcements early in 2017 related to advances in AI for hiring. One of the central features will be the use of Deep Learning, or Deep Neural Networks, to match people with their dream jobs, using a level of intuition that has never been possible before without human involvement.
What do you think it will take for the tech industry to really take off in 2017?
The tech industry took off some time ago! In 2017, a trend that we could see is the expansion of the tech startup culture outside of the Silicon Valley and across the entire U.S. New York City, where we’re located, has long rivaled the Silicon Valley, and the past two or three years has proven itself in terms of VC dollars and startup stars. NYC is also a leading hub in FinTech, which is exploding right now.
If you had to make one bold prediction for 2017, what would it be?
Enterprises will start to embrace AI solutions and several industries will be redefined as a result, including the recruitment business. AI is being applied to almost everything these days, which follows from about half a decade of serious focus on Big Data. As with any trend, a lot of players will drop off, but the ones that make it will significantly shape the industries they’re in.
Looking back at 2016, what are some highlights from the year for your company? New products, awards, company events, etc.?
The greatest highlight from 2016 was being selected for the prestigious FinTech Innovation Lab in NYC and graduating from its intensive three-month program. As a direct result, we signed up a number of top tier-banks as clients, and raised $2 million in funding. We also entered into a partnership that resulted in an MVP for a new product that focuses on internal mobility for companies with large distributed tech teams.
Can you talk about some of the top tech trends and innovations from this past year?
Deep Learning is one of the most promising fields of AI, and it has continued to produce incredible results in facial recognition, voice recognition, and several other categories. The Google DeepMind team used these techniques in AlphaGo, the first computer program to defeat a human in a world championship game of Go.
I continue to be amazed by the AI personal assistant - Amy Ingram juggles demanding meeting requests with ease. She’s unfazed by tricky logistics issues, and able to hold a friendly conversation at the same time. If you ever doubted that AI could be used for practical, everyday purposes in business, give Amy a try.
How do you think the industry improved this year? Were there any technologies that were introduced / became popular that you’re particularly excited about?
Developers spent a lot of their “hobby” time on AR and VR in 2016, and this can sometimes indicate that an increase in commercialization will follow. There was an unexpected surprise in the form of Pokémon Go which showed us that while AR is unlikely to be a major 2017 trend, it is closer than we think.
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