Thinkbot: ThinkNOT

I can’t help it. I have to share this story. An ex-employee and friend was up for a managing director position and she asked if I would provide a reference. Sure, I said, why not? She is an exceptional professional and would be an absolute asset to any organization she decided to join. I got an email from what I thought was an HR person at the company. I was impressed. It’s a great company, but I wasn't sure they had an HR department. I believed this was in fact the CEO, not HR, but that’s another story. So, the gentleman asks if we can have a chat, I agree and he tells me that Betty (not the real name) will be in touch to set up an appointment. He also mentions that I might be intrigued to learn that Betty is AI. Now, of course I know what that is. I have Steven Spielberg to thank for recognizing AI when I see it.

A week passes, no outreach from Betty so I ping Mr. HR/CEO. Just to be kind, because I want to help my friend. By email he makes a date for us to speak and expresses surprise that “Betty hadn’t gotten in touch.”

Yes, Betty the robot. Falling down on her details. Going rogue. How could I tell him that while I thought the idea of Betty was cool, the way he was referring to her was weird. And sort of unsettling. And no offense, maybe artificial is really not all that intelligent. I love progress - I think 3-D printing machines are about the coolest thing in the world - but expressing surprise that a machine didn’t get in touch just feels creepy.

Here’s the thing, machines are great, can’t live without them, but they will never replace the human touch, no matter what.

And when it’s all said and done, I’d rather have my personal (as in ‘person’) assistant make mistakes. When they say they’re sorry they might even mean it. Not sure a computer will ever be able to promise that.