AI yore thyme is hear!

Workplace of the futureMy company ComXo is at the forefront of helping companies create the workplace of the future .  We do this by centralising and consolidating 3 key functions of business support services (navigating the organisation, reserving services, escalating help requests) and creating clever channels to access them.

More and more we are asked about the bogeyman of the moment “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) so here is what I have learnt so far.robot

AI is real and it will change your life from here on in.  Whilst our grandfathers might  remember the first commercial plane flight and our fathers the first personal computer we will bore our kids about the first time we experienced AI.

AI is a learning algorithm that gets incrementally better at a task the more feedback it has regarding the outcome’s proximity to perfection.  This can be brilliantly demonstrated on a repetitive task where a large amount of data needs to be mined and analysed.  scribe

In the past this sort of work was the preserve of an articled clerk or more recently an off-shore service centre and in truth these jobs will be replaced as sure as the scribe was replaced by the printing press and the printing press replaced by the laser printer.

But I marvel at the furore being whipped up by an imaginative press about the breath of jobs that will disappear.  Perhaps formula based jobs such as actuaries or insurance risk managers will feel the heat but anything that requires judgement, interpretation or the slightest understanding of a human is for now beyond the horizon.Jobs joke

ComXo is busy experimenting and integrating AI in as many areas we can apply it to and the experience is interesting, frustrating and funny.

Our most recent experiment involves an app our R&D team created to allow me to create a to-do list every morning whilst walking the dog on the beautiful Long Walk in Windsor.

View on the way up....

Just an excuse to get a picture in of this amazing place…see the other photos on this blog if you like it

I requested the app be voice activated, record my voice, transcribe my memo to text and email me the text and the voice file to my desktop such that when i get into the office my list for day lies before me….simples!


Here are a couple of choice transcriptions using the most well known voice to text AI engines available.

“get hold of Mark Fitch and chase up the customs and excise” came through as

“I’ll get back in touch with fish on a substance in Texas”

“print out the Guardian top 300 list and get in touch with facilities managers” came through as

“I print out the Guardians 360 getting in touch with a Dirty Sanchez.” .

Who says the robots have no sense of humour!


The reality is that when the app is used in the quiet controlled confines of the office it works pretty well but when it has to manage any other environment it gets it wrong 95% of the time.

This is the most basic of AI interface needing no appreciation of nuance, context, humour, irony, sarcasm or ire.  Emotion is uniquely human and it powers core behaviour way before logic gets a look in.  As happened with automated voice response menus in the 90’s and outsourced Indian call centres of the last 10 years customers get very funny when being interacted with by someone or something they cannot develop rapport with.

So if your job has anything to do with end user human service where rapport, trust or explanation is needed…I reckon you are safe for now!Team Pic





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