39th ANNUAL SIOP CONFERENCE, Chicago, April 17-20, 2024 Industrial-Occupational Psychology: the Future of Work from a Human Vantage Point

Published in:  cApStAn updates, Conferences

The Chicago Hyatt Regency, Swissôtel and Fairmont and the Pedway that links them were teeming with I-O practitioners, students, researchers, consultants, solution providers and stakeholders for three and a half days packed with intriguing content and networking events organised by SIOP. Since many of the organisations we work with or want to work with were present, we set up a booth to showcase the solutions cApStAn Linguistic Quality Control offers to collect reliable data in multiple languages and geographies the testing industry.

The conference was superbly organized, and the information to navigate the sessions and the event was ubiquitous: billboards, a physical programme booklet, the Whova app, wall posters and maps made it easy to transition from a panel to a presentation, from the exhibition hall to a meeting room. The Opening Plenary was centered around recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of I-O, volunteers, and projects funded by the SIOP Foundation. It was followed by a welcome reception cum top poster display, which turned the exhibition hall in a humming beehive. As expected, at this early stage camaraderie takes precedence over intellectual stimulation, although some of the posters were intriguing.

The second day started with a continental breakfast (at 7:00 a.m. to allow for an early start of the sessions), which was a welcome networking opportunity. At breakfast everyone is eager to listen to their commensals. We took turns to attend sessions and to welcome attendees at the booth. One always had to choose from multiple concurrent sessions; Highlights included a well-attended panel titled “Ethical AI-based Assessment in Practice”, a machine learning competition, ignite sessions, co-creative workshops, symposia and even a SIOP’s Got Talent evening. The main themes were, as expected, artificial intelligence (AI) in general and large language models (LLMs) in particular, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, neuroscience, pride at work and ethics.

Rather than attempting to summarize the content we absorbed and the exhilaration that comes from three intense days of thought-provoking exchanges with friends, peers and colleagues from the field, I would like share an impression about the dominating attitudes towards AI in the I-O field: there are the enthusiasts who describe the mind-boggling potential of LLMs and try to figure out how this can be leveraged. There are the pragmatists who identify a problem they are confronted with and investigate whether AI can help solve that problem or at least address it more efficiently. The second approach resonates most with us, as we are result-oriented and consider that R&D needs to lead to concrete efficiencies. And there are the skeptics who collect evidence to demonstrate that LLMs are unreliable and that AI poses threats. It was reassuring to listen to the different voices and look at challenges and opportunities though different lenses.

All in all, another successful event, replete with promising conversations, new contacts, enriching exchanges and stimulating content.

See you all in Denver, Colorado next year!