From an Outsider’s Perspective: Artificial Intelligence

I’ve recently begun working for Accenture, one of the largest IT firm, but within a small team that is almost like a startup. Amidst a period of transition and rebranding, I’ve been hired on as a Marketing & Social Media Analyst. Three weeks in, it’s already very challenging, and I love it. Working with breakthrough ideas and technology, half of them are engineers and the other half are business-based innovators. Everyone is brilliant, and the high-tech atmosphere combined with startup culture blows my mind every day. I already worked at 1871 before, but every day is so cool. Since many of my supervisors work remotely, they will video call in from a robot that they can maneuver around the office from their homes in the suburbs, Denver, and even Manila. During down time, the team plays virtual reality games, tests out drones, and tinkers with other technology. Did I mention they were disappointed that I wasn’t a Star Wars fanatic?

Since I am the new kid on the block and seemingly separate from the two forces, I do feel like an outsider. As I’m slowly learning about the team and the industry, I’ve realized something important about the future of technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a main project in the team, and it’s interesting that I had already associated a negative connotation with AI. When I think about AI and Chatbots, I think about all the annoying automated phone calls that ask me to say what I need and they can never understand me. Just let me speak to someone real!!!! We’ve all been there, right?

This team is able to see the future where these AI tools are almost perfect and lack the lag times that current Chatbots do. As technology progresses, I worry about the thought leaders of technology forgetting the crucial step for adoption — building trust.

According to everyone in tech (apparently?), we are currently riding the second big wave of AI trends. There was a big surge awhile back (think SmarterChild), but AI has improved a lot since then. Everyone is eager to add AI to their assets even if it isn’t perfect. These companies want to be ahead of the game and beat their competitors. However, launching Chatbots before they’re well-tested can create a disconnect between users and technology. Dissatisfied users will lack faith in AI. Even those who are early adopters for some technology might not trust AI technology as it grows.

It’s interesting to think how the future of technology has two polar opposite risks: the fear of inadequacy, and the fear of supremacy.

While some people will get annoyed that AI isn’t good enough and would prefer a customer service representative, others may fear AI becoming so smart that humans are no longer able to control it. This is more than an overdramatic sci-fi story — without trust, it’s difficult to determine relationships with technology in the future.

Many AI technologies will cannibalize current Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), but ideally, these technologies will leverage more people to higher-level jobs. If people continue to be educated at a similar rate to the exponential growth of technology, there shouldn’t be many issues regarding technology and trust. However, flawed education systems prevent this equilibrium. Like economic classes in the United States, educated classes in the country are more divided than most realize.

I hope to continue to learn about this topic, but from an outsider’s perspective, the masses need to continue to be educated about the accelerating rate of tech innovation. By educating people on AI, trust can be improved over time as technology continues to improve.

Then again, I don’t even use Siri. Maybe I’m totally wrong. 🙂

++ MK

* My opinions are personal and do not reflect Accenture. I am currently a contracted employee of Accenture.

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