Chatbots

Can Chatbots Replace Customer Service Reps?

A chatbot is a computer program intended to engage with humans in human-like conversations. It is also known by other names like chatterbot, talkbot etc. Chatbots are the “in-thing” in the world of artificial-intelligence led technology. Both the press and the internet world are awash with stories of how chatbots are going to change the way we shop, dine, converse, and even stay in a hotel. There is a lot of hype around this technology, as is usually the case when people talk about artificial intelligence. Continue reading

Emö Rubik invented the Rubik's Cube in 1974 and it became the world’s most popular puzzle. The cube consists of 26 cubelets that move and turn when the faces are twisted. This cube is in a solved position when each face is a uniform color. The goal is to take a randomized cube though a series of face twists to transform it into the solved position. Learning to solve a Rubik’s Cube can teach us something about learning to program.

Can a Rubik’s Cube Teach You Programming?

Emö Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube in 1974 and it became the world’s most popular puzzle. The cube consists of 26 cubelets that move and turn when the faces are twisted. This cube (pictured above) is in a solved position when each face is a uniform color. The goal is to take a randomized cube though a series of face twists to transform it into the solved position. Learning to solve a Rubik’s Cube can teach us something about learning to program.

Programming has always been seen as a skill in addition to a thinking process. But what exactly does it mean when we say programming is a skill? How is this a useful insight? Continue reading

Merging With Technology

My Robot Wants Your Job—NO

My fellow bloggers, Ted Lewis and Rodrigo Nieto-Gomez, claim robot automation of knowledge work is proceeding at such as pace that many workers will be displaced from jobs, and there will be no new replacement jobs available for them. Robots will take over all kinds of work and there will be no work left for humans. They further claim the only good way to address this inevitable socially undesirable situation is “basic income guarantee” (BIG). There is a more optimistic side to this complex issue and it is not as bleak and prohibitively expensive as BIG. To show it, I will briefly examine these questions:

  • What is new about job displacement with AI technology?
  • How fast is it happening?
  • What is a good social response to the disruption?

Continue reading

Robot Typist

My Robot Wants Your Job—YES

“As industrial robots go from being caged and very expensive (and high-maintenance) to affordable and collaborative, six in 10 manufacturers are expected to begin deploying robotics technology across a wide range of tasks (including assembly and materials handling),” say Daniel Araya and Christopher Sulavik in a recently posted Brookings Institute blog.

For the last year and a half, MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee have been arguing that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Since 2000, employment has hit a wall as productivity continues to grow. We are seeing the beginning of a revolution that will displace not only manual labor, but so-called white-collar labor as well. Continue reading