Defining Your AI Product Objective

Optimize for long-term quality and be aware of all the unintended negative outcomes, let me explain how.

Remco van Akker

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The right objective

Defining the right objective for your algorithm is the most essential and potentially the most difficult job you’ll ever have as a product leader or manager, or owner. You might achieve the exact opposite result if you don’t carefully evaluate what you want to achieve. You must begin thinking quickly and slowly about your user outcomes in order to choose the right objective.

Start with your instincts about what the goal should be, but then take a more deliberate, methodical approach to it, examining all the details. Always use data to back up your hypothesis, and be careful not to mix it up with causation and correlation. For example, you could optimize the algorithm for the number of times job seekers click on jobs. Isn’t this straightforward? It’s valuable to them if they’re clicking on it. That, however, is incorrect. Clicks may be a poor indicator of relevance. Let me explain.

Ideally, job seekers will engage with only those jobs in which they can succeed, rather than all jobs. Not only for job seekers, but also for recruiters, this will result in a more positive outcome. I recommend first answering…

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