It’s almost a year since I assembled an international panel of Real Careers alum to consider the impact of digital disruption on assistants’ careers. Since that time, I’ve canvassed readers more than once about the impact of tech advances on your career – and you responded to my most recent such poll barely two months ago.
Also in March, I presented to an audience of Scottish PA Network members on the topic of IR4.0 and its impact on the career. If the term IR4.0 has you scratching your head, you’re not alone. You’ll want to know that this is the term for what’s identified as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I’ve written about it here before; enter the term in the “search” field on this page to learn more.
Cora, Alexa, Andrew, Scarlett and Duplex – Oh, My!
Humans have been reading (and venting!) this week about one of the newest entries into artificial intelligence (AI) services, Google’s forthcoming Duplex technology. At this week’s developers’ conference, Google I/O, the company provided a demo of phone call AI technology that can generate a human-sounding voice. You may have seen clips of the Duplex AI system demonstrating how consumers might make hair salon and restaurant reservations not too long from now.
While many can see the business advantages of replacing humans with AI for such tasks, others are finding the idea of phone conversations with AI almost as unsettling as Alexa’s “creepy laugh” of earlier this year. Google has responded to backlash with statements that its Duplex AI will provide transparency in the form of disclosure. Product testing is anticipated in Summer 2018.
Duplex AI is in good company
it’s not the only product designed to enhance business efficiencies through use of AI; take Cora, for example. If you deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland, you may recognise Cora as an avatar being piloted in the UK. Cora is a digital teller equipped to answer simple banking questions, and has been introduced on the heels of thousands of job cuts in the past year.
Scarlett may be better known to Canadian consumers. It (“she”) is the AI algorithm used by entrepreneur Marie-Philip Simard, founder of clothing company Chic Marie. This innovative company is a fashion subscription service through which clients rent/borrow up to three boxes of clothing a month … and then different styles in subsequent months. According to the company’s website, Scarlett is your virtual stylist; you complete a survey about your fashion and style preferences, and then its algorithms simplify your borrowing choices.
Amy and Andrew? They’re forms of AI scheduling technology. I was interested to see that at least one of these AI products has a masculine name; much like the world of assistants, it seems they’re not in the majority.
Human-sounding AI is just one more piece of digitisation that will impact all of us. This week, Google alone published a shopping list of products and news for the technically inclined.
Other goodies? The company is also planning to launch another AI-enabled product called Smart Compose. According to Pocket-link, Smart Compose will build on auto-complete functions to suggest “relevant contextual phrases” when you’re typing an email. Then there’s Pretty Please, which some might suggest takes on parental roles by encouraging young users to ask politely for access to products.
All these products lead to the topic of this weekend’s poll …
How comfortable are you with the advancement of Artificial Intelligence?
Please take a couple of minutes to complete the poll below. As always, I look forward to hearing what you have to say and will publish results early next week.