Article | June 10, 2019

The Future of Field Service is An AI-Human Hybrid

Source: Aquant
U.S. CEOs See Greater Willingness To Use Artificial Intelligence: KPMG Survey

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic in the service space. Automated assistance, through AI applications like chatbots and interactive voice technology, is on the rise. The growing sophistication of AI technologies is helping service professionals across many industries deliver better customer experiences, with greater efficiency and at less cost.

As AI projects gain traction, many service professionals worry that companies will replace them with machines to cut costs. Grim statistics fuel the fear. According to Fortune, 48% of human workers will eventually be replaced by robotics and software automation. Yet some service pros express skepticism that machines can make their skill sets redundant. Can a robot really replicate their hard-won knowledge?

Even the Smartest Machines Won’t Win Every Time

In reality, even the most sophisticated AI can’t replace the nuances of human experience. Take the example of AlphaGo, a computer program developed by Google DeepMind that learned to play the complex board game Go through thousands of hours playing against itself. AlphaGo has been lauded by many as one of the most advanced real-life uses of AI ever developed.

In 2016, AlphaGo stunned Go enthusiasts across the world by defeating Lee Sedol, an 18-time world champion, in a series of games, 4-1. Again and again, the machine made unusual moves that demonstrated skills and creativity beyond those of the human engineers who programmed it. Even so, Sedol’s single victory came in the fourth game, when he made a move that had a one-in-ten-thousand chance of happening. Sedol’s win proved that even the most intelligent machines can sometimes fail to account for human ingenuity and intuition. In future games, AlphaGo adapted its approaches based on lessons learned from Sedol’s defining move. And for his part, Sedol credits AlphaGo for changing his approach to the game, inspiring a streak of tournament wins.