Experts say they’re now closer than ever to creating an AI with similar productivity levels to people who don’t try very hard at work.
The AI bot ‘Virtually Inept Non-human Computer Employee’, or V.I.N.C.E for short, made a huge breakthrough last Friday. V.I.N.C.E logged into his team’s weekly wrap up meeting 6 minutes late, immediately put himself on mute, said nothing the whole time (even when everyone was asking him for his update), before finally typing in the chat something about a bad internet connection, asking people to email him, and then logging out.
Laura Ramirez the Lead Developer on the project could hardly contain herself when discussing this watershed moment for AI.
“I’m so proud of what we’re achieving with V.I.N.C.E." Ramirez explained "we’re seeing a huge demand for this type of AI bot. People don’t want perfect robots that are going to steal everyone’s job, take over the world, and then destroy us; they’re looking for something more relatable.’
"People don’t want these perfect robots that are going to steal everyone’s job, take over the world, and then destroy us; they’re looking for something more relatable."
The project has been far from plain sailing though, as Ramirez recalled the many early setbacks.
”V.I.N.C.E was a nightmare at first, he was responding to all the messages people sent him, actively participating in meetings using his audio recognition and chat capabilities, and generally just getting stuff done. It was really stressful and embarrassing for us seeing how proactive he was. One time, someone submitted their expenses incorrectly. Less than a second later V.I.N.C.E had corrected all their mistakes, made the payment, and responded by saying 'I gotcha Julie’. It was a real low point for us all.”
“We’ve made a lot of progress since then. Now if you send V.I.N.C.E a message on Slack, he’s probably going to ignore you. If you tell him it’s really urgent, he might put a thumbs up emoji or something, before going back to ignoring you again. These are the kind of results we’ve been dreaming of, but to see it actually happening is incredible.”
Ramirez and her team are already working on two new bots to join V.I.N.C.E’s team. There’s K.A.T.E [Kinda Able To Execute] who's programmed to quickly 'reply all' to every message she receives, and to organise as many meetings as possible. Then there's S.A.M [Sloppy and Mediocre] who is programmed to figure out the lowest quality work he can get away with on any team.
Update: In beta testing the majority of K.A.T.E's clients promoted her to management.
By David Fallon
Founder of Intaview.me