I loved reading Friedman’s visit to 7.ai in Bangalore, India: A.I. Still Need H.I. [Human Intelligence], for Now
The one thing that really stood out to me is how the humans (H.I.) was used almost exclusively for meta needs
These text queries are usually answered first by a 7.ai chatbot, or “virtual agent,” powered by A.I. (artificial intelligence) and only get handed over to a person using H.I. (human intelligence) if the chatbot gets stuck and can’t answer
The matter (protocol of answering customer support queries) is largely taken care by a machine, capable of structured, statistical computation.
Virtually all of the 7.ai human operators today have college degrees, because they need to be able to text with good grammar in English, understand the interaction between the chatbot and the person calling for service and communicate with expertise and empathy when the chatbot runs out of answers
When an unknown situation arises, and there is need for unstructured, ambigous, liminal thinking a qualified human is called.
What makes this jarring is the simplicity of applying of this to only single domain. Both sides of this collaboration–statistical language analysis and liminal thinking–can be universalized, or at least abstracted further. The bottle neck is a result of rent seeking businesses, & gated products thinking. It is time for liminal services.
So — for now — if you have critical thinking and empathy skills, Aiva is your friend. But I wonder what happened to all those Indian high school grads I met 15 years ago. Because if you don’t have those skills — and just have a high school degree or less, which applies to hundreds of millions of Indians — or you are doing routine tasks that will be easily roboticized, well, Aiva the robotic fruit picker, Aiva the file clerk or Aiva the trucker will not be your friend
Thomas L. Friedman, A.I. Still Need H.I. [Human Intelligence], for Now