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The AI Revolution

2016.03.16 18:27 PT

[ Medium ] Scott Santens:

Amelia is just one AI out there currently being beta-tested in companies right now. Created by IPsoft over the past 16 years, she’s learned how to perform the work of call center employees. She can learn in seconds what takes us months, and she can do it in 20 languages. Because she’s able to learn, she’s able to do more over time. In one company putting her through the paces, she successfully handled one of every ten calls in the first week, and by the end of the second month, she could resolve six of ten calls. Because of this, it’s been estimated that she can put 250 million people out of a job, worldwide.

Give Amelia several months or several years and she would be able to resolve a million out of a million calls. I thought jobs like customer service would be difficult to replace with computers. The human element, is lacking, isn’t it? Maybe not. A lot of companies have outsourced customer service to countries like India and customer service representatives are trained with a script. If that script doesn’t solve a problem, the call is then elevated to a supervisor who is off-script and who can make decisions. Amelia can probably replace the first line of customer service representatives, and Amelia will be significantly better than what we experience today. If Amelia can’t solve a problem a human supervisor can be called in to help, but Amelia will learn from human supervisor interactions and eventually put them out of their jobs too. I guess I thought wrong: AI will soon replace lots of jobs, even jobs like customer service.

Do you remember the movie Her? Now that I think of it, the premise of the movie is wrong. Theo ghost writes letters. That’s his job. But why would a company hire people like Theo when they can use Samantha, the AI? Samantha could read through every love letter humans have ever written and learn how to write a love letter precision tuned to the ‘writer’ and the receiver of that letter. And Samantha would do it better than Theo.