Blog: Artificial intelligence isn’t here to take over the workforce, according to an expert – Vogue Australia
Artificial intelligence is confusing, and if your understanding of it stems about as far as Will Smith fighting a troupe of murderous robots, you’re not alone. On the other hand, if you’re interested, you might be familiar with Soul Machines – an innovative New Zealand-based company focused on thinking, instinctive, human-like pieces of technology. Soul Machine’s tech can be (and is) integrated into several aspects of everyday life by way of health coaching, customer service, training and education – not just the public service roles I, Robot had us believe. Put it this way: maybe in five years, your personal assistant will actually be a robot that lives in your laptop. Sounds unfathomable, but when you consider it’s never sick, sleeping, or needs time off, it’s a pretty appealing concept.
Rachel Rekhart is the Vice President of Customer Success at Soul Machines, and oversees all the ways in which people actually use and engage with its products. She’s at the core of its technology, and how it is – and can be – a part of our normal day-to-day. Reckhart is speaking at Vogue Codes 2019, but before that, she offered us her take on the A.I. industry, her role in it specifically, and how it’s going to change our lives. Read on for the interview.
What’s your professional background?
“My experience is in strategic planning and change management. I’ve successfully executed numerous initiatives for digital transformation and human-machine augmentation.
Prior to Soul Machines, I led the Machine Assistance team at Autodesk, responsible for the development and implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
As I learned more about A.I. and other initiatives gaining traction in this space, I became extremely interested in human-machine engagement and the psychological aspects involved. So much so that I decided to go back to school to get a graduate degree in Psychology to better understand how to connect humans and machines.”
What is it about A.I., in particular the work that Soul Machines is doing, that excites you?
“We see a future where machines can be taught naturally and through interaction, the same way humans learn from one another – you don’t have to be a computer expert to use it, anyone can. We’re at the forefront of bringing it to the world. It’s incredible.”
What does a typical day look like working in artificial intelligence?
“It’s different depending on what area your work in, but for me, a normal day involves helping customers in the various stages of our implementation process, from ideation to defining success, persona, or troubleshooting and relationship management.
I’m also responsible for evolving the Soul Machines customer success strategy and execution by envisioning, creating and implementing programs and processes that ensure customers get the most out of their investment in our products. This includes building and leading our customer delivery team through profitable revenue growth and delivery of an exceptional customer experience.”
Where do you see A.I. taking us in the next five to 10 years – is it something that the average person will integrate into their everyday lives?
“Proliferation of A.I. will be largest in lifestyle improvement, enabling human-machine cooperation, collaboration, and enablement. It will make a significant difference in the lives of people from better information, to autonomous machinery, and even companionship.”
What’s one myth about A.I. you would like to dispel?
“Robots aren’t going to take over the world and replace everyone’s jobs, it’s not a competition. Robots are already here, they’re everywhere, and they’re creating a future of connection.”
In a role where you’re constantly connected, how do you switch off?
“I balance technology with the real world by sticking to paper notebooks. I go to my university classes in person, and always make time to properly meet up with friends. Wine also helps!”