AI Ethics: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence in a Contact Center Ecosystem

Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving and it will affect all of us. While early adopters are investing in technology and reaping its rewards, the majority of companies today are taking a wait-and-see approach. They first want guidance from regulatory authorities to help them understand what effects AI will have on their businesses, employees, and customers.

Here’s a look at how AI will affect the three main stakeholders — employees, customers and the business — within your contact center.

Employees – Those employees who perform repetitive tasks may feel threatened, thinking that AI and bots will take their jobs. The reality is that this change will give rise to new jobs, such as bot trainers and data analysts. And the use of bots likely will free employees up to focus on higher-value, analytical activities — and could improve their overall job satisfaction and performance. However, it still falls on the organization to invest in their employees’ skills to retain them — instead of having a high churn rate that would affect business performance.

At the employee level, there will be more unionization for those involved in repetitive tasks; the unions will ensure that the right checks and balances are in place to safeguard the interest of these employees and advocate that they advance with technology — not lose their jobs as a result of it.

Customers – Customers have the right to know how much of their data is being stored. And every organization needs to have an AI and ethics policy in place. This will gain the trust of customers and unleash the complete power of AI for deeper meaningful conversations.

Trust and privacy: Considering the recent Facebook security debacle, customers must be informed about how secure their information is and if third parties will use it without their consent. In addition, companies need to inform customers that bots will collect their sensitive information and that the information won’t be misused. In the age of AI, consumers need transparency into who’s servicing them — whether it’s a bot or a human agent.

AI and emotions: When questioned about machine learning and emotions, Marvin Minsky, one of the founding fathers of AI, said, “The question is not whether intelligent machines can have any emotions, but whether machines can be intelligent without any emotions.” As AI use continues to evolve, people expect to interact with emotionally intelligent bots that can take decisions based on customer sentiment.

Business – Before businesses even address AI ethics, they should have a digital and data ethics process in place. And they should review this process periodically with all stakeholders — committees with a diverse representation of all facets of the business. The committee should have actionable outcomes from their meetings, including plans to train employees on the concept of AI and how it could actually improve — not eliminate — their jobs. Businesses must also work closely with regulatory authorities and employee unions to formulate policies that benefit everyone.

All in all, we could say we are looking at a fourth industrial revolution involving AI and it’s a critical piece that could make or break our future.  Join the discussion on AI ethics.