The AI Manager

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715095

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item The AI Manager

  • Jim

    Newbie

    Points: 2

    It's terrifying to think of what could become the norm in a few years from now. Even reading the article around the A.I in the call centre was enough for me to want to 'nope' right out of there.

    At one of my previous jobs, they introduced Nikabot into our Slack space, and for those who don't know, it's a piece of time tracking software. Each day, it'll send you a message and ask you what you did the previous day and how much time you spent doing it. It collates all of this information and sends it back to your manager.

    I fully understand a company's wanting to know what you're spending your time on, but it feels a little too intrusive, overbearing and emotionless having to report in to a cartoon head smiling back at you. In a matter of weeks Nikabot was scrapped after many complaints from the team and the occasional "f@!k off Nikabot!" that was bellowed in the office when 10am rolled around and she sent her message to everyone.

    I have hope still that the same will happen elsewhere around the world, either that or companies that do adopt this kind of approach will struggle to find employees to replace the ones that leave.

  • Toni-256719

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4861

    Reading the article about AI in the call center at MetLife made me wonder what the employee turnover rate was.  Sure, the existing employees are mostly happy with the software.  Did all the unhappy employees quit and get jobs elsewhere?

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Toni-256719.
  • DinoRS

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2308

    Call me the bad guy but I'd love to use AI for predictive maintenance, the drive will still fail I might just know about it in advance.

  • Tom Gillies

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2738

    I have grave doubts about anything remotely "statistical" which claims to predict with a 96% accuracy. Doesn't this sound like the very definition of "prejudice" or "self fulfilling prophecy"? That's especially if you don't monitor the inputs and classifications very, very carefully.

    Using statistics to predict performance of machines is fine. It's even a good idea. Take the thing which you think is going to fail off-line. Then perhaps you can examine it and decide if the algorithm was right and maybe improve the algorithm, or even repair or recondition the device. Simply throwing a device away because an algorithm predicted it was going to fail is not actually that beneficial. How do you know it wasn't a "false positive"?

    I've actually read Frederick Winslow Taylor's "Principles of Scientific Management". From memory, the tasks he analysed were mostly (all?) repetitive, mechanical operations. He didn't major in human interactions or anything complex.

    Like Steve, I find applying crude mechanical thinking (and too much Behavioural Psychology) to humans unsettling and fear that it may lead to places we do not want to go. Putting a card above my screen reminding myself to "Smile today" when I feel a bit down is one thing, this is something else. Always ask "would you like it done to you?"

    Tom Gillies
    LinkedIn Profile
    www.DuhallowGreyGeek.com[/url]

  • jasona.work

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 49864

    Sooo, what it really sounds like MetLife is trying to accomplish with this software, is for all their call center employees to respond exactly the same to identical situations.  Basically, they want robots answering the phones...

    Frankly, I would not want to be "managed by AI," for a multitude of reasons.

    Think about it.  Having a bad day and not rocking through your tasks like normal?  An AI will simply say something like "you need to pick up the pace," a human manager might come up to ask why you're not working as fast as usual, notice the non-verbal cues that indicate something's off, and instead ask you what's going on and making allowances for it.

    I'm fine with AI remaining a tool, something to handle the mundane tasks with a dash of predictive-ness to warn you of pending potential problems, but as a manager?  Nope, nope, nope.

    And, putting an AI in charge of the sort of dystopian hellscape that is a call center?  Bad idea, because if you want Skynet, that's how you get Skynet...

    (Dang it, I need a smiley here!)

  • Chris Wooding

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4227

    You mention the impact on middle management and supervisors; I can imagine AI being able to schedule pointless meetings, but it will be some time before it can realistically take part in pointless meetings (and follow-on meetings and pre-meeting meetings), so middle management should be safe for a while. 😉

  • Rod at work

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 33108

    Too many issues here to give a blatant Yes or No to. Progress inevitably means impact to people's jobs. Sometimes whole segments of jobs are powerfully impacted. I'm sure that when the automobile started to come on strong, it very negatively impacted horse stables around the country. I like riding horses, but personally I don't want to be dependent upon a horse to get me to work daily. I've seen what I see as waste, in hiring lots of help desk people who primarily help  users who've forgotten their password or need to have their password reset, because for whatever reason the user can't do it themselves. Over a year ago I learned of a software product that had the capabilities of handling these lower level tasks, leaving the more difficult chores to humans working at the help desk. If such a system were to be implemented, I'm sure that it would result in a few layoffs. The union wouldn't agree with that, so it isn't going to happen.

    On the other hand, as the father of a son on the autism spectrum, I'm very concerned for those with lower capabilities. How will they work for themselves (assuming they're capable of working for themselves)? Such people may be permanently eliminated from any sort of work. Personally, I do not believe in a utopian point of view that somehow society will simply pay such people something for not working. I point to the fact that way back in the early part of the 20th century there were some who predicted that the American worker wouldn't have to work as hard as they did back then due technological innovation. Look around, on average the American worker is working harder now, then they did back in the early 20th century.

    No, this isn't a simple issue. Some I'll agree with; some I won't.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Chris Wooding

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4227

    Re: On the other hand, as the father of a son on the autism spectrum, I'm very concerned for those with lower capabilities. How will they work for themselves (assuming they're capable of working for themselves)? Such people may be permanently eliminated from any sort of work.

    I don't know if it will help, but I've read of companies that specifically employ people on the autism spectrum for tasks such as proof-reading that require attention to detail and an aversion to things that "don't follow the rules".

  • TomThomson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 104763

    Jim wrote:

    It's terrifying to think of what could become the norm in a few years from now. Even reading the article around the A.I in the call centre was enough for me to want to 'nope' right out of there. At one of my previous jobs, they introduced Nikabot into our Slack space, and for those who don't know, it's a piece of time tracking software. Each day, it'll send you a message and ask you what you did the previous day and how much time you spent doing it. It collates all of this information and sends it back to your manager. I fully understand a company's wanting to know what you're spending your time on, but it feels a little too intrusive, overbearing and emotionless having to report in to a cartoon head smiling back at you. In a matter of weeks Nikabot was scrapped after many complaints from the team and the occasional "f@!k off Nikabot!" that was bellowed in the office when 10am rolled around and she sent her message to everyone. I have hope still that the same will happen elsewhere around the world, either that or companies that do adopt this kind of approach will struggle to find employees to replace the ones that leave.

    Long before there was anything like Nikabot, time use recording was an enormous burden.  45 years ago I was caught up in culture where ever half hour had to be accounted for, with detail of what the time was used for - by filling in forms on paper.  I don't see that Nikabot could actually be any worse than that - in fact it would probably be better than that because filling in a form on a computer is generally less effort that doing it on paper (unless the software and form design were done by idiots, which is of course quite possible).

    Tom

  • Zidar

    SSChasing Mays

    Points: 638

    AI is just a new gadget that promisses hope of 'managing things succesfully' even if we don't know how to manage them without AI. I have seen managers waiting for AI to arrive, to solve their problems, due to lack of natural ability, education, skill, experience and everything else.

    First kind of AI were - text processors. That move eliminated secretaries and typists. And all of them did in deed do something more than typing. Once they were gone, simingly 'low level' jobs fell on 'higher level employees', i.e. upper managers themselves. Is any company more productive since secretaries and typists went the way od dinosaurs? Same with drafters and engineering technicians. We got AutoCAD, word processors and spreadsheets. So now engineers themselves can do bills of materials, cost calculations, and of course - drafting - we got AutoCAD, eh. And type reports themselves. And learn how to edit a technical text... And stop thinking, no time for that, we spend time wrestling with new inteligent tools.

    Basically, all 'higher level' professions had to learn skills used by 'lower level' positions, becaue technology eliminated those jobs. Jobs may have been eliminated, but work has not. Meanwhile, we forgot to spell. Perhaps that is why a restaurant is serving pee with potatos as a side dish. Both pee and pea are legit words, and AI spell checker accepted them.

    There was a mention of horses vs. cars a few posts above. True, nobody would like to go back to horses. On negative side, we all got a bit fatter than necessary because machines mostly did all work for us. Problem aknowledged, solution - jogging, aerobic, gym, weight lifting. Why? To prevent our muscles from dying off. With AI, same will happen to our brains, and it has started. Who remebers more than two phone numbers? Who can do times table, or add up charges before restaurant check arrives? Can we find our way around without using Google?  What kind of jogging works for brain?  Taht is AI in work....

    Engineers who do not think, are they still engineers? Humans who stopped thinking, and started obeying instructions from AI smart machines?

    Thank you, but no thank you   🙂

     

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