I would absolutely looooove a PA. What woman wouldn’t when there’s work to juggle (paid or volunteer), a household to manage, children to love and organise and… and… well, you know!
Instead of a personal assistant, how about an artificial intelligence assistant? A robot to schedule your appointments, client meetings, doctors’ visits, social calendar. Sounds awesome, right? I want one!
Google recently demoed Google Duplex, an AI Assistant as per the video below. And while the transaction is not perfect, the robots sound scarily human. And yes, I said robots, plural. A robot “customer” calls up and tries to make a hairdressing or restaurant booking with a robot “staff member”.
While it sounds amazing, such technology does have its downsides and detractors.
Transparency – will we know whether we’re dealing with a real person or a robot? Imagine the scenarios that could occur if you don’t know you’re dealing with an AI assistant. Customers having a tantrum with a robot trained to respond, “Please do not use an aggressive tone. I am just doing my job.” Or a single person trying to flirt with a sexy-sounding hairdresser which is actually a robot.
Social interaction – is this kind of AI just another nail in the coffin of people already lacking meaningful relationships? Often even mundane tasks like booking a hairdresser or a restaurant are part of slowly building relationships. As a customer, you know from the first phone call whether this place is friendly, relaxed, busy or rude, abrupt and unaccommodating. As the service provider, you know whether the customer is flexible, in a hurry, chatty and so on. These interactions, or first impressions, lay the groundwork for the progression of future relationships. What about romance? Do you want robots organising the time and place of your first date and leave out your ability to pick up the subtle cues, jokes and interactions that help you make a judgment about whether this relationship is going to be positive or negative?
Loss of jobs – especially for low income earners who could find their human touch replaced by AI that can accurately mimic the inflections of ums, ers and pauses in natural speech.
What if question. What would you love an Artificial Intelligence Assistant to do for you? Let me know in the comments below!