When Predicting the Future, Humility and Humanity are Key
AI vs. humans, part 1
When my business partner and I launched our company in the mid-1990s, we debated whether to install an automated phone system. It seemed to be the wave of the future, and we were intrigued by the prospect of it saving us the expense of hiring a receptionist.
We eventually decided against it because of the frustrations we’d experienced on the other end of such systems. As a startup, the last thing we wanted to do is frustrate our clients and vendors by making them use a complicated telephone tree. In some circumstances, there’s just nothing that can replace a human being.
Despite our decision, automated phone systems have become even more widespread, no longer just answering calls but now placing them. Who hasn’t been momentarily fooled by a recorded voice on the other end of the line that asks you how you’re doing, pauses a moment for your answer, then launches into a pitch? It takes only a moment to realize we’re being played, and once we do, we feel manipulated and maybe a little bit foolish.
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