Natural Evolution: A.I./bots in managerial positions

Adam Milton-Barker | Oct 21, 2016 | Artificial Intelligence | 6308

In my last article "Natural Evolution: From chatbots to fully A.I integrated applications", I touched upon the Artificially Intelligent member of staff I have been developing that assists businesses with running their day to day via the TechBubble GUI. Whilst developing the A.I. I had become stuck on the decision of whether or not the A.I. should have the ability to interact with its team members in a way that was outside of the scope of being a business assistant, in other words, should the A.I. be able to hold general conversation, to some degree, with its team members, or should it only be allowed to converse on subjects that are specific to the tasks in hand. 

I decided I would post the question to Facebook, and see what people out there thought about it:

"1. If you were a business owner and you had an A.I. that was a member of staff, would you want this A.I. to be able to communicate about everything, which would result in staff probably spending more time talking to the A.I. than actually doing their jobs, or would you expect the A.I. to be a sort of authority that would answer and then prompt them to carry on work, or an A.I. that would strictly stick to its specific role of assisting with business only queries and commands."

"2. Same question really for front end A.I., judging from chat logs visitors are more inclined to play with the A.I. than actually use her for what she is there for, would you expect your A.I. to kindly keep them on track of their purpose of visiting the website, or entertain them which could lead to not actually making the sale."

In general, the overall feelings were that business owners would expect that the A.I. did not have any sort of general conversation skills, or at least not many. After posting the questions, I realized that I should of worded question 1 better, but it actually raised some interesting views. What I had meant by "would you expect the A.I. to be a sort of authority that would answer and then prompt them to carry on work" was: would a business owner expect the A.I. to be able to answer general question to some extent, but ensure that it stayed on track with whatever task it was assisting its team member with, and make sure that the staff member was aware that it was not a chatbot to have fun with or general conversation. This part of the question seemed to be the part that was  picked up on first by the people replying. In particular the answers that I wanted to touch upon in this article were as follows:

"I would never take orders from a robot, and I think it's dangerous if humans go down that path."

"OK - so I would in no way take instructions from A.I."

I mentioned in my previous article that for me, A.I. has been a taboo subject with the people around me, and an issue that I have had to face and tackle in my personal and business life. These two answers are a classic example of what I meant by that. Although I had previously mentioned that chatbots are helping A.I. become publicly accessible and accepted, it is still blatantly obvious that for some aspects of A.I., the world is simply still not ready. 

There are already known cases of A.I. taking on managerial roles, such as VITAL, an A.I. that was added to the board of directors at the Japanese VC firm, Deep Knowledge, I doubt very much that even with the limited capabilities we have with A.I. today, that it will be much longer before managerial roles are filled by A.I. For me, I would not think twice if an A.I. was assigned as my supervisor or manager, in fact to me it makes perfect sense, but to others clearly this is an issue. 

As the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence progresses, we are not only going to be working alongside them, but also under them, and I feel that is one of the many big hurdles that humanity is going to have to deal with. Whether it will happen or not, there is no doubt, but just how society will handle it when it does happen, is a question I cannot answer. I am very interested in hearing peoples views on this so please feel free to reply with your comments or drop me a message.