Ready for digital people? | Tacoma Daily Index

By Morf Morford

Tacoma Daily Index

The fact is that civilization needs slaves. Human slavery is evil, precarious and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, depends the future of the world. –Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Have you ever found yourself on the phone with an incompetent, surly, barely comprehensible customer service representative who appears to be from another time zone – or even planet – as you tried to navigate your way out of a technology dilemma? ?

Help may be on the way.

The emphasis should be on the “can”.

If all goes as planned, Soul Machines (https://www.soulmachines.com/), the San Francisco-based technology company engaged in highly advanced artificial intelligence (AI) work, the metaverse and the digital world, will soon be teeming with so-called “digital people”, autonomously animated inhabitants deployed as as a digital workforce in a highly immersive virtual cosmos.

Maybe it’s just me, but if there could be a term that conjures up a dystopian, dehumanizing, and soulless potential reality, it would be “Soul machine.”

Yes, these would be the ultimate digital natives – cyber “people” who will be adopted by all industries to represent both brands and consumers to do business, work and play in the metaverse.

As you can guess, there is a lot of money behind such a venture.

Soul Machines announced that it has secured $70 million in Series B1 funding, bringing the total investment in the company to $135 million.

In partnership with IBM Watson, Soul Machines is working to create “artificial humans”, which are realistic computer-generated characters with natural voices and realistic facial expressions, who can interact with users like real people.

The company says it is using deep AI technology to change and shape the future of customer experience/service by delivering highly personalized brand experiences at scale.

Is it scary beyond description or is it what we as customers, workers or citizens really want?

If you want an introduction to these digital beings, take a look here: https://techcrunch.com/2022/02/14/are-lifelike-digital-humans-the-future-of-customer-experience/.

Do you remember the 80/20 rule?

The 80/20 rule, among other things, operated on the assumption that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the workers.

Consider what some call the 70/20/10 rule: 70% of an organization’s change dynamic—its processes, ways of working, key performance indicators, and incentives—involves people. 20% involves getting the right data. The remaining 10% relates to the use of technology and platforms.

In other words, 70% of any organization is made up of its people.

If expensive – and often surly – human beings could be replaced by AIs, robots, droids or drones of any name, who never complain about pay, hours or conditions, who wouldn’t? not ?

Where is customer service?

Customer service, where product, marketing and sales converge, is where success – and failure – happens.

The most enduringly successful brands pursue five essential practices that define the art of building an intelligent experience, such as in non-human interfaces.

Imagine what machines, whatever their name, could do that mere humans struggle with.

At record speed, they were able to connect data signals and information from an ever-expanding range of sources.

They could reimagine the end-to-end experience as a seamless flow, powered by automated decisions.

They could enable the experience across all channels, connecting touchpoints to engage customers wherever they are.

They could fill in any of these depending on the client’s context, always recognizing who and where someone is.

And they relentlessly test, inject new innovations, rigorously measure their impact, and understand how things affect people differently.

And they never complain, get sick or sleep.

These robots, droids or drones are the dream of any manager.

They are perfect. And meticulous. And, potentially at least, still available.

This robot makes a perfect fondue

A Swiss team is working on Bouebot, a robotic creation bringing a futuristic touch to an alpine tradition: the fondue.

For just over $300,000, you too could be the proud owner of a servant droid that, rotating on six different axes, painstakingly calibrates temperature, wine, bread and cheese to produce a reliable and precise fondue.

Following his programming, he cuts the crust, places the fondue pot under the scraper before grating the cheese, stirs vigorously as the mixture melts and blends, and delivers the final product to the human.

This fondue chef is a little confused when it comes to different shapes and textures of cheese. Details here: https://www.euronews.com/culture/2022/02/24/a-robot-that-makes-fondue-it-has-to-be-switzerland.

The singularity

As scary or as wonderful as it may be, the fusion of man and machine is well on its way.

Consider this “progress” on the brain/machine interface: bigthink.com/neuropsych/brain-machine-interface/.

The term for the first generation of home appliances was called “labor-saving” or perhaps “time-saving”.

From blenders to food preparation devices of all kinds, they all promised safety and efficiency and relief from tedious work.

Promised droids or drones follow through on that same promise.

But as almost every student asks, if a machine can do it better, faster, and more accurately, why should any of us learn anything?

It would be easy to argue that technology not only makes us lazy and amoral, it makes us stupid.

What are people for?

No algorithm will help us discern right from wrong, but what have we become when we depend on them to find us the best “match” or the next thing to buy online, or even, thanks to our addiction to GPS , how are you.

If we can’t cook or drive or even find a companion without a machine, how necessary are we?

Who needs humans?

Machines, for better or for worse, focus on the task at hand – of which we are less and less capable.

Japan has been actively developing and deploying robots in nursing homes to address labor shortages since 2015.

Robots have been used in manufacturing for decades all over the world.

To put it mildly, the impact of robots differs depending on labor market conditions and industry.

And yes, through the magic of the marketplace, you too could be a robot “pet” owner, receptionist, or even, uh, a “companion” here – www.althumans.com/business-robots.html.

Maybe it’s just me, but my surly, barely competent human companions look better to me every day.

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