DPAs (Digital Personal Assistants) are practically running our lives after 29 years since the first virtual assistant was launched even if you think you're not using one. They have integrated into all of the mobile devices and control how we manage our day to day lives without us evening noticing. Amazon launched Alexa in 2014 and more than 100m of its Echo and Dot gadgets are installed in homes around the world today. In just five years, Alexa is topping the DPA market with 8.2 million users around the world and 61.1% of US market shares of smart speakers. Amazon is adding more and more features into Alexa, that is why it's the most intelligent of all assistants in the market.
According to a new study from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), nearly 10% of women work in jobs with a high potential for automation, compared with only 4% of men. So what, I hear you say. Substitute "robots" for "austerity", "the demise of unionisation", "public-sector pay freezes", "modern life" – pick any of these and women will always come off worst. Except maybe this time the pointy heads are on to something: perhaps better understanding what the risks are will give us all some agency, and even allow us to change the future. As Carys Roberts, the author of the IPPR report, tells me: "We don't even talk about risks in this area, because there are so many different factors.
Could an automated assistant report to a chief financial officer? A robot vice-president, after all, might be ideal for repetitive tasks like looking up data from statements and preparing charts. Some support functions like billing and collections are mundane and mistake-prone enough that it seems better not to inflict them on a human.
For companies struggling to leverage digital transformation, there is new hero in town, and it's called intelligent automation. Intelligent automation is definitely much more than hype. But before companies carried away, they must understand and focus more on the "why", "where" and importantly "how" they want to use intelligent automation. Understand that the why is really about the business case, and how, being the approach (tools and process) and with where being the use case. It is imperative for business, be a SMB or enterprise to understated not just how this new solution can benefit, but also its limitations.
This might have been true of pure automation, but combined with artificial intelligence, our fears are Hubbard's line will be rendered redundant. Based on the data and information it has, it will make intelligent decisions and act independently. At a base level, human behavior is also divided into instinctive, "automated", behaviors - breathing, flinching, blinking - and intelligent, or otherwise rational, conscious decisions. Kasperov reflected, "Weak human machine better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human machine inferior process."