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Workers are starting to project personalities on to software programs by giving them female name

  • Autor:Memory
  • Suelte el:2017-04-19
Workers are starting to project personalities on to software programs by giving them female names, talking to them and even giving up the window seat as flesh-and-blood employees adjust to sharing the office with bots.

As artificial intelligence invades the workplace, people are learning to live with their new robot counterparts, even though their own jobs might be next for the chopping block.
Staff at back-office operations for ANZ bank in Bangalore have given their new colleagues softer female names such as Lakshmi, while employees at Nippon Life Insurance Company in Japan call them robomi-chan, or “pretty little robot”. In London, workers at insurance processing company Xchanging have named one of their bots Poppy.
“I’ve heard Danis and Lakshmis,” said Pankajam Sridevi, a managing director at ANZ. “They talk to them, they’re like humans. Sometimes people are so fond of them they give them a window seat.”
Using technology to take over information processing tasks is nothing new. But the latest manifestation of office automation — where software robots carry out tasks that a human worker would once have done on their PC — comes in a form that makes it ripe for anthropomorphisation.
Robots such as these work 24 hours a day and do not make mistakes, and their developers credit them with doing the work of two or three people.
Giving names and personalities to the new robots has become common among people who find themselves working alongside the new programs, said Alastair Bathgate, chief executive of Blue Prism, one of the companies that develops the software. Ms Sridevi said that naming robots had helped workers accept the software and lessened the risk it would be seen as a job-destroyer.

The urge to name the robots has born out at least one familiar pattern: the projection of female personalities on to new “intelligent” software assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. Only Apple’s Siri offers a male voice as an alternative to the female-dominated line-up.

Entrepreneurs such as Chrissie Lightfoot, co-founder of Robot Lawyer Lisa, are in little doubt about why a female personality is the way to go.
“People do feel more comfortable dealing with females than males in tricky matters,” she said.