AI-Visionaries: Building Tengai's Human Interface

Furhat Robotics is the conversational AI and social robotics start-up that has built Tengai’s physical body and invented the platform that holds the robot’s D&I software. Furhat’s vision is to create a human-like computer interface that enables people to interact with machines in the same way that humans interact with each other. And their social robotics platform is today one of the world’s most advanced.

Based in Stockholm, Furhat Robotics was born out of a research project at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology). In 2018, they started the collaboration with recruitment and staffing agency TNG.

The shared mission was to take the next step in unbiased recruitment by developing Tengai Unbiased, the world’s first social interview robot. And to be effective, Tengai’s platform was built to hold a diversity and inclusion software. With TNG’s insights the software was pecifically designed to reduce bias in the recruitment process and create a more fair candidate experience.

Constant Development

The unbiased recruitment company and specialists TNG created Tengai Unbiased in partnership with social robotics tech pioneers Furhat Robotics. Furhat built the physical social AI-robot and its conversational platform. While TNG in the fall of 2018 started shaping Tengai into an interview robot, as well as creating a D&I software. The joint goal and vision was to create an AI-robot more human-like and capable of performing unbiased job interviews.

“While Furhat Robotics provides the social conversational platform, TNG design the D&I software application that is the foundation of Tengai’s behavior and her capacity to conduct structured and situational-based interviews.”

A group of recruiters and assessment experts at TNG carried out the extensive work together with the company’s candidate experience team and the team at Furhat Robotics. A work that is far from complete. As the team constantly continues to develop the HR Tech tool. For example, Tengai’s code is checked on a regular basis to avoid algorithm bias.

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All About User Experience

There is a big difference between working with pen-and-paper, a touch screen, a smart speaker, an animated character, VR, AR, compared to a physical and social robot. And it all comes down to the user experience. While you can express any “information” in all of the above, each medium has its own benefits in how it engages with the user in different tasks. For example, using a keyboard to draw or edit a picture in Photoshop is a very bad interface compared to using a mouse.

And we argue that using a chatbot/online-form to recruit someone is a very bad interface as well. And when talking about about bias, using a human could be a bad interface.