Randstad Canada HR Blog

3 Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Change Forever

Posted by James Rubec on Mon, Jun 09, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

IT jobs3 Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Change Forever

Get ready for Skynet, someone beat the Turing Test.

With news from the Royal Society in London that a team from Russia has built a computer program which has passed the Turing Test (where judges are fooled as to whether they are chatting with a real person or a computer through a digital chat), the question in the staffing and recruitment world is When will these programs begin to work their way into our daily lives?

The program, named Eugene Goostman, which played the part of a 13-year old boy from the Ukraine, fooled 33% of the judges, that it indeed was a person, instead of a computer program. The Turing Test was devised in 1950 by the godfather of computer science, Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing, who built the test with the idea if a human couldn’t tell that they were conversing with a machine, the machine was thinking.

While Eugene may be the first, we are still at least a decade away from seeing any sort of authentically automated digital people engaging with us online – but when they come there will be impacts on employement.

1. Customer service

One of the first places we’ll see Eugene style chat-bots engaging with actual people will be in customer service. Today some companies use pop-up chat windows on their sales’ pages to answer questions that customers might have. In the future, these conversations could be automated. Likewise, when you email a complaint to a brand, whether the shoes you ordered are late, or the an experience in store you received from a service representative was negative, the email responses could well be those of computer. The benefits for brands will be assurance that complaints are dealt with and consumers will be engaged with. Also knowing that you can't annoy a computer is nice food for thought.

2. Communications

Today there are already examples of reporters being replaced by robots particularly in the reporting of sports media. In the future, the near future, other forms of public relations or social media engagement could be automated with an artificial intelligence. Today brands program much of their social media communication with canned content – sharing stories and photos. In the future responses to people through Twitter or Facebook could be done by a program. With enough of a back catalogue of communications a robot – Tweeter could be more effective than human engager, no typos, near immediate response, no selfies. 

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3. Retail or restaurant service

Whether you are at a table or a in a checkout line automated services are already in the field. You can sit at a sushi restaurant and order from a tablet, with your only human interaction being the delivery of your sashimi. Right now, people are still more economical than machines to bring items from a store-shelf to the checkout line, or from the kitchen to your table, but that line is drawing close. Nothing beats good table service, but what if you aren't looking for a luxury experience and you just want a burger without cheese, cooked extra-well done? The line between service and satisfaction will be where AI fills in gaps and takes hold.

Computer scientists have been working on programming languages and supercomputers to beat the Turing Test in a serious way for the past 40-years.

Teams on prestigious campuses like the University of Waterloo, MIT and Harvard and multinationals like IBM with Watson, Google with its self-driving cars and even Apple's Siri have all in their own way begun to tackle the issues of making the technology and theories behind it commercially viable. We might be 10 or 20 years from seeing programs like Eugene living and breathing out in the wild but really, once they are will you be able to tell?

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