The Computer that Fired the Man was Incorrectly Programmed by a Human


News reports last month relayed the escalating frustration felt by a Singapore employee as he went to scan in on a typical Monday morning to find that his security pass had stopped working, his computer system login was disabled, and to his surprise was eventually marched from the building by the company’s security guards.

Ok, nothing newsworthy about this story, people are fired from their jobs every day, the difference here is that during his kicking from the system, his Managers were powerless to overrule the system and unable to give him an explanation as to why his contract was being terminated with immediate effect.

Furthermore, the company’s systems didn’t have an operating system designed to encapsulate knowledge (such as human resources expertise) or computational intelligence – the ability to learn from datasets – such as recognising the factors that might lead to dismissal.

Reports have later appeared to claim that the employee might have been sacked due to the fault of a previous manager who hadn’t renewed his contract on the new computer system and various automated systems took appropriate action which was to deny entry and evacuate once he was on the premises.

The issues that led to his unexpected firing were not caused by Artificial Intelligence, rather by its absence. In fact, it seems that the unfortunate man was let go as a result of an out-dated and poorly designed system triggered by human negligence. While IT or software is certainly not to blame in this HR mess, it may actually be the solution.

Most large organisations will have a personnel handbook that can be coded up as an automated, expert system with explicit rules and models. Many companies have created such systems in a range of domains that involve specialist knowledge, not just in human resources.

Many expanding companies will have an HR handbook that can be coded into a computerised, master system with proper models and standards. Numerous organisations have made such software systems within a range of spaces that include specialist knowledge, not just in human resources.

Read more about Ibrahim Diallo, the man who was fired by a computer here.