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Artificial Intelligence Isn't Here to Steal Your Job
By Tim Warren, Angel Investor, Flying Kiwi Angels
“I want to buy a car”, “I need to buy a car”, “Sell me a car”, “I need a car”, “How do I buy a car”, “Get me some wheels”... etcetera, you get the picture… From here it builds a statistical model and anything that the user asked for is compared with that model resulting in a percentage confidence that the user actually wants to buy a car. This is the way humans comprehend - we just aren’t explicitly aware of it! In the area of conversational artificial intelligence (talking computers, chatbots, digital employees etc), machines are now able to automate vast quantities of customer service type enquiries. Ideal use cases are questions such as “Where is my parcel?” - for a delivery company. “What is my account balance” - which is the most common enquiry for utilities “Where can I find your store”, “ do you have this item” : for any retail store Examples of great success in this area include fashion retail chains Hallenstein Brothers and Glassons; operating throughout New Zealand and Australia. Via their digital employees Benny and Charlie, they handle many of the routine questions online shoppers have about the status of orders, returning items, exchanging etc. Also checking store hours, finding out sale information and much more. Implementation of the system has enabled the companies to grow at a high double-digit rate without adding staff in their customer service centre. Another company that has had excellent results implementing conversational agents is Tower Insurance in New Zealand. Automating the windscreen claim process eliminated phone wait times for their most common claim type, dropping a process that was often 20 minutes long down to a process it took only 2 minutes. not only did this reduce the call demand on the service centre, it dramatically improves the customer experience with end-to-end automation off the process, while freeing up call centre staff to deal with more complex claims. This is the crux of the future of work. Artificial intelligence is not here to take your job, Augmented Intelligence is here to take those parts of your job that you don't like, the parts that get boring, the parts that you cannot do 24/7. As AI steadily develops in capability, Humans are able to move into more interesting parts of the rolls, they're able to grow, they're able to develop. Humans are very well adapted to dealing with ambiguity, complex situations and the use of empathy. Adapting our workforce so that wait times for customer service are dramatically reduced while providing human workers with more interesting more engaging work, also significantly improve the customer experience? This is a unique win-win-win situation, the employer, the employee and the customer all benefit. In my experience of building conversational digital employees across Australasia, the workers whose roles are changing at the most interested in the most engaged in the process. I've never had someone say to me “Goodness, I wish we had more phone calls like this!”. I do routinely hear people explained how they look forward to providing a high quality of customer service and getting more challenge in their role. Moving to the concept of augmentation brings a new lens turn the discussion. Many augmentations have crept into our lives and there are very few that we want to do without. In the car world we have ABS brakes, Power Steering and navigational aids. there are very few people now that would argue we don't want those in every single new car! artificial intelligence powered augmentation is the same, it's just a little closer to home because we can speak to it in natural language.