Must-Read: Olivia Goldhill: “Robot Helpers”

Must-Read: It is all in the framing: is the human the robot’s assistant, or the robot’s boss? Does the human merely help the robot by helping in all the edge cases? Or does the robot handle routine matters leaving the human free to spend more time exercising their judgment? It can go either way, depending on the details, in which is the devil…

Olivia Goldhill: “Robot Helpers”: “As AIs take on a growing role in the workplace, a new role is opening up for humans…

…The robot’s assistant…. AI trainers who work as ‘robot’s helpers’ already exist at… Facebook, virtual assistant start-up Clara Labs, and Interactions, a company that builds AI to handle customer service calls…. AI trainers are helping a new digital assistant called M, which works as a concierge service to make reservations, order delivery, and send reminders through Facebook messenger. The product is being trialled in San Francisco, and a host of humans work to make sure that M’s recommendations are solid and that tables have been booked at the right restaurant. ‘We’ve invented a new kind of job,’ Facebook spokesman Ari Entin told the New Scientist. Though an AI personal assistant might be able to handle most requests, it’s handy to have a human around to decipher confusing wording, check for accuracy, and—in the case of Interactions, which takes instructions by voice—make sense of mumbled comments. In short, humans can help when the robot isn’t sure…

November 10, 2015


Brad DeLong
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