Meet our SXSW panelists – Myra Norton

By Adam Curtis

On March 9th, Catalyte is moderating a SXSW panel discussion, “AI and the Democratization of Work.” In preparation for the talk, we are profiling each panelist and getting their take on a couple of questions related to the topic.

Meet our panelist, Myra Norton. Myra is president and COO of Arena, which uses modern data science to help health care organizations improve outcomes by finding the right people for each role, in each department, at each location. She joined Arena in 2012 after a rich career in data and analytics. Myra has extensive academic experience as an administrator and professor in mathematics and statistics at Temple University, Towson University and the United States Naval Academy.

Here’s what she had to say about how AI can remove subjective bias from the hiring process and create a more diverse and productive workforce.

Q: Why do we need to build a new narrative about AI and its impact?

The current narrative around the use of AI in hiring falls into one of two relatively provocative themes:

1.  AI is taking away jobs from people by automating work that was formerly done by a person;
2. AI is reinforcing and amplifying historical bias in the hiring process.

The first is a reality of technological advancement, and is actually not unfamiliar to us. We’ve seen how technological innovations can replace human work throughout history. The second is something we must address and prevent. What is missing from the current narrative is the power and promise of AI to actually rewire the labor market in a way that improves the work life of individuals and allows each of us to find meaningful work free of bias and incorrect assumptions about the nature of our abilities. That’s a narrative of hope; and for me, that’s a narrative I’m willing to invest in to see it become a reality.

Q: What happens if we do nothing and continue to use traditional hiring methods?

A couple of things happen if we continue to use traditional hiring methods. First, we continue to see stagnant employee engagement, employees leaving their jobs with increasing frequency and organizations struggling to manage labor costs because of these phenomena. Second, talent acquisition professionals continue to be overloaded and unable to focus on their real mission of identifying and recruiting talent because they are constantly playing catch up as they face the revolving door of talent leaving their organizations. Finally, and most importantly, we miss out on the opportunity to truly change the experience of the worker and the promise of great organizations by rethinking how we connect people to meaningful work.