Home Money A wave of artificial intelligence tools is set to transform work meetings

A wave of artificial intelligence tools is set to transform work meetings

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A wave of artificial intelligence tools is set to transform work meetings

I ask Liang if the prominence of AI in meetings could make humans less likely to attend. Knowing that a summary will be available seems like a disincentive to show up. Liang himself says that he attends only a fraction of the meetings to which he is invited. “As a startup CEO, I get tons of invitations to attend meetings; I often have double or triple bookings,” he says. “With Otter I can see my invitations and classify them. I rank them based on content, urgency, importance, and whether or not my presence adds any value.” Since he is the CEO, it may be easier for him to opt out. On the other hand, the boss’s presence in a meeting makes it more valuable to those who want clues about his thinking or an instant yes to a proposal.

Of course, the premise behind the meetings is that each The presence of the person adds potential value. It defeats the purpose if by the time everyone turns to the only person who can weigh in on an issue, they only find an empty seat. But Liang has an AI solution for that, too. “We are building a system called Otter Avatar that will train a personal model for each employee for meetings that the employee doesn’t want to go to, is sick, or on vacation. We’ll train the avatar using your historical data, your past meetings, or your Slack messages. If you have a question to ask that employee, the avatar can answer it on your behalf.”

I point out that this could lead to an AI arms race. “I’m going to send my avatar to every meeting, and everyone else too,” I explain. The meetings will be just a group of AI avatars talking to each other; People will then review the summary to see what the AIs said to each other.

“That can happen,” Liang says. “Of course, there are always situations where you want a direct personal relationship.”

“In that case,” I reply. “I can go out to a bar with those people.”

“Yes, you can have a drink with your coworker while your avatars meet!” Liang says. “Ultimately, you don’t need a job, because the avatar did all the work!”

We were riffing now, but there is a serious undertone to this speculation. We are entering a period in AI development where companies are incorporating the technology into powerful products to be used in collaboration with humans, with the flesh-and-blood contingent firmly in charge. But many of the people building the technology are obsessed with the mission of building so-called artificial general intelligence that can surpass or replace humans. If all goes as planned, what started out as useful tools could take on increasingly prominent roles in the workplace, at first replacing the pre-AI way of working and, later, human workers as well.

At that point we can meet in those bars and spend our universal basic income checks on drinks. Maybe we’ll use Dan Siroker’s pendants to capture our conversations so we can add them to our ever-expanding life archives. One question that’s sure to come up: “Can you help me remember what it was like when we had those old meetings at what used to be our jobs?”

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