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Could the rise of the machines prevent you from becoming a robot?

By Marcus Lambert

The use of chatbots or AI driven robots currently divides both consumers and businesses. Despite the hype, it is our lack of understanding, and the infancy of this technology that has seen even new customer facing assistants being labeled as the simpletons of the artificial intelligence world.

A diet of science fiction movies is also responsible for an increasing paranoia about anything that uses artificial intelligence. When Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are publically arguing around tech based doomsday scenarios of our own making on the horizon, you could be forgiven for exercising caution.

However, real life is nothing like a fictional movie, and the reality is that AI’s benefits will far outweigh its negatives. Early adopting enterprises are already turning to bots to transform their customer experience or even help build their startups.

We now reside in a mobile first digital world where we expect an instant response to any question. A phone call with a complicated list of menus to navigate through just doesn’t cut it anymore. Our increasing customer expectation levels have ultimately given birth to the now infamous chatbots.

A virtual customer support agent that is ready to answer queries 24/7 without the need of lunch breaks, vacation time or even sleep is attractive to business leaders for a myriad of reasons. Before you jump to the conclusion of pesky AI robots taking our jobs, the reality is something entirely different.

Chatbots now can serve customers and quickly resolve any quick or easy queries. More importantly, they can detect an angry or frustrated customer by their use of language and quickly connect them to a human being. In the world of enterprise, artificial intelligence is providing unprecedented access to their consumers. However, the digital revolution is freeing people from repetitive tasks and enabling them to play to their human strengths in emerging new roles.

The rise of the digital nomads who drift from country to country armed with just a laptop, smartphone, and free Wi-Fi highlights how we are evolving as digital citizens. No more being confined to the factory floor or the 9-5 daily grind sitting at the same desk as our parents had to.

Rather than living for the weekend, many are now living life by their own rules. As technology removes those mind numbing repetitive tasks, we can finally progress as a global community by focusing on areas that machines can never compete.

2017 will be remembered as the year that the enterprise became obsessed with the personalization of everything. However, only a real person can make the customer experience personal. There are so many emotional elements along any customer journey that machines cannot understand.

Empathy, compassion, exceeding expectations or just a simple thank you conversation over the phone are just a few examples where bots cannot compete. In many ways, it was ourselves that were in danger of becoming robots after blindly repeating mundane actions without question rather than using our biggest strengths such as intuition, creativity, innovation, and imagination.

Rather than taking our jobs, AI technology is setting us free from the shackles that have been preventing the human race from reaching its full potential. Waking up at 7 am on a Monday morning, only to head out the door on auto pilot yearning for the weekend is a clear indication that our current system is broken.

Whether it be making or breaking the rules to make difficult decisions based on incomplete data, it is our uncanny ability to blend emotion and reason seamlessly that give us the edge over our future robot overlords. The time has come to understand how technology can work for us, rather than the other way around.

The enemy is not AI or robots; sometimes it is our own resistance to change that is our biggest failing. The safety net of a dull, boring and repetitive job is a false utopia. For every robot, chatbot or AI driven solution, there will be a need for someone to maintain or service these tech driven solutions.

The old way of doing things is now forced to step aside for a new digital era where humans and robots will work alongside each other to become more efficient and productive. During the digital transformation, we should be concentrating on new training people the new skills required for a brave new world. After all, nobody wants to become a robot, right?

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