Newsroom

Dec 10 2016
Media Inquiries

Daniela Zuin
Director of Marketing
daniela.zuin@ipsoft.com
US: +1 212 708 5521
UK: +44 (0) 7917 678 709

Analyst Inquiries

Rob Petrucelli
Director of Analyst Relations
robert.petrucelli@ipsoft.com
US: +1 212 708 5518

Events

The Present & Future of Digital Labor

November 29, 2016

The competitive landscape is changing. Within five years the make-up of the workforce will be entirely different to the one we see today as digital labor and AI-enhanced roles become the norm. The productivity benchmarks that set market leaders apart will be set at new levels. In a demand led consumer society, the bar for customer service will be higher than we have ever seen it before. These were the themes highlighted in the opening keynote at this year’s Gartner Symposium in Barcelona where CIOs were encouraged to drive digital to the core of their organizations and embrace AI. On the opening day of the Symposium, IPsoft..

The Present & Future of Digital Labor

November 29, 2016

future_intelligent_operations

The competitive landscape is changing. Within five years the make-up of the workforce will be entirely different to the one we see today as digital labor and AI-enhanced roles become the norm. The productivity benchmarks that set market leaders apart will be set at new levels. In a demand led consumer society, the bar for customer service will be higher than we have ever seen it before. These were the themes highlighted in the opening keynote at this year’s Gartner Symposium in Barcelona where CIOs were encouraged to drive digital to the core of their organizations and embrace AI. On the opening day of the Symposium, IPsoft collected together senior executives from the industry to discuss and debate the future impact of digital labor. Watch highlights of the seminar to learn more about the topics raised and hear from the pioneers leading this change.    
A Digital Workforce

future_intelligent_operations

IPsoft Chief Cognitive Officer, Edwin Van Bommel, presents IPsoft’s vision of how automation and cognitive technologies are changing business as we know it.
   
Pioneers Panel

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Speakers from SEB, one of Sweden’s largest banks, Enfield Council, one of London’s largest boroughs, and UBS discuss their implementation of Amelia. They share insights and advice driving value from digital labor. Read a summary of the Pioneers Panel.

 
Amelia Demo

future_intelligent_operationsAmelia is trained to support employees across many industries, including insurance. IPsoft Vice President Ergun Ekici demonstrates how Amelia can help an agent facilitate a car insurance claim for a customer, illustrating how her brain works.


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White Papers

Reinventing the Business with Cognitive Digital Labor

December 5, 2016

Digital labor is about to reinvent business, from back-end to front-ends of business operations, and thereby redefine the way business and IT are practiced, used, and..

Reinventing the Business with Cognitive Digital Labor

December 5, 2016

Digital labor is about to reinvent business, from back-end to front-ends of business operations, and thereby redefine the way business and IT are practiced, used, and leveraged for 21st century digital business. The new cognitive digital labor:

    • Replaces and augments repetitive lower-skilled labor using digital labor
    • Continuously improves when learning from subject matter experts
    • Is the foundation for reinventing business IT
    • Is the competitive market advantage of 21st century digital business
  reinventing-the-business-with-cognitive-digital-labor Register to download a copy of this white paper.


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Press Releases

IPsoft’s Amelia a “transformational play:” Deloitte announces Australian alliance

December 7, 2016

6 December 2016: Deloitte and IPsoft have signed an agreement to further develop IPsoft’s cognitive platform Amelia in Australia. Deloitte’s Analytics and..

IPsoft’s Amelia a “transformational play:” Deloitte announces Australian alliance

December 7, 2016

6 December 2016: Deloitte and IPsoft have signed an agreement to further develop IPsoft’s cognitive platform Amelia in Australia. Deloitte’s Analytics and Cognitive Technology practice leader Alan Marshall said: “We are absolutely convinced that IPsoft’s Amelia platform is one of those transformational plays that will help Australian business remain competitive on the international stage. “Amelia is able to completely transform how service centers respond to customer and staff requests. She has a unique natural language processing capability that means she can have a dialogue just like a human, making a natural interaction possible. At the same time by connecting with other systems and colleagues Amelia can fulfill requests end to end. “Best of all, Amelia can do this at machine speed while holding thousands of conversations in parallel.” Marshall explained that Amelia’s ability to improve service as well as efficiency will have a direct impact on Australia’s productivity agenda. He said: “Our clients are under pressure to find new pathways to growth that will enable them to remain competitive. Cognitive technology will play a pivotal role in meeting this challenge. “To that end we are very excited to be working with IPsoft to reengineer some of our client organizations’ legacy processes, and train Amelia in different service situations across a host of industries including Financial Services, Health, Education and Telecommunications. We are also seeing some significant activity in Mining and Oil & Gas,” the Perth-based Deloitte partner said. Marshall added: “Our job is to help clients identify which platforms will deliver transformational returns by speeding up delivery of the mundane and opening up more high-value insight opportunities for employees. The combination of the two is immensely powerful. “The emergence of the robotic workforce, like that provided by Amelia, is a really exciting opportunity for Australian business to automate its process execution and transform its service interaction models.” Justin Cooper, IPsoft Australian Vice President said: “Our partnership with Deloitte provides us with extensive industry knowledge that enables us to deliver an end-to-end solution for our clients. Enterprises across all sectors are keen to leverage cognitive technology to augment the workforce so that they can put more energy into enhancing the customer experience. “Building on our experience of working successfully with Deloitte in other regions, we are excited to team together in Australia accelerate the deployment of digital labor." NB: See Deloitte's media releases and research at www.deloitte.com.au For further information: Justin Cooper Managing Director IPsoft Australia and New Zealand M: +61 408 225 374 Justin.Cooper@ipsoft.com Daniela Zuin Marketing Director IPsoft Tel: +1 212 708 5521 Daniela.Zuin@ipsoft.com Louise Denver, Director, Corporate Affairs & Communications Deloitte M: +61 414 889 857 ldenver@deloitte.com.au   About IPsoft IPsoft automates IT and business processes for enterprises across a wide range of industries through the use of digital labor. Through its portfolio of world leading autonomic and cognitive solutions it provides services that allow its clients to secure competitive advantage. Headquartered in New York City, IPsoft has 18 offices in 15 countries across the world and serves more than 500 of the world’s leading brands directly as well as more than half of the world’s largest IT services providers.   About Deloitte Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/au/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms. Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 225,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.   About Deloitte Australia In Australia, the member firm is the Australian partnership of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. As one of Australia’s leading professional services firms, and winner of both the Australian Financial Review/CFO Audit Firm of the Year and Accounting Firm of the Year awards 2013, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and its affiliates provide audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through approximately 6,000 people across the country. Focused on the creation of value and growth, and known as an employer of choice for innovative human resources programs, we are dedicated to helping our clients and our people excel. For more information, please visit Deloitte’s web site at www.deloitte.com.au.


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Opinion

Can Bots Have Feelings?

December 8, 2016

By Edwin van Bommel, Chief Cognitive Officer, IPsoft Computers have been pretending to have feelings since the first Macintosh computer screen showed a smiley..

Can Bots Have Feelings?

December 8, 2016

By Edwin van Bommel, Chief Cognitive Officer, IPsoft

Computers have been pretending to have feelings since the first Macintosh computer screen showed a smiley face on startup back in 1984. Or maybe earlier, if you count Star Wars‘ R2-D2 and C-3PO (though it took human actors inside to make those feelings come out). Almost as long as people have interacted with machines, they’ve wanted to have some reassurance that the machines were listening to them.

Software designers (and special effects designers, too) used sleight of hand to give the impression of feelings to very early computers. Those “feelings” were exchanged only one way: No one really thought that the early Mac was happy, and it certainly didn’t know if the user was smiling back. Let’s face it, with early computers, it didn’t matter. Your program did the same thing whether you were smiling or cursing. Now computer programs are being called on for much more sophisticated tasks  —  and far more elaborate interactions. We’re starting to see this trend with artificial intelligence and bots.

At the moment, many of the bots on the market can only act in a programmatic way. They don’t conform to what humans need. Bots run through their own scripted approaches and frequently leave humans with a bland experience. For bots to be most helpful, they have to recognize the feelings of the people they are interacting with and use that intelligence to guide their responses throughout the rest of the conversation.

Showing the outward signs of basic human emotions might have been the first stage in creating an emotional dimension for computers. Recognizing human feelings is the next stage and is becoming a key discipline in what is known as affective computing  —  the science and development of machines that can interpret, respond, and simulate human emotion. You may already have interacted with some machines that do that to a very limited degree. If you furiously hit the zero key enough times in a customer service system, for example, you’re likely to trigger the process that will transfer you to a human operator.

Just recently, my credit card got lost while being delivered to my home. When I called the credit card company to resolve the issue, I wrestled with an interactive voice response (IVR) system for 50 minutes. The IVR system lacked the ability to recognize my emotion, or sense that I didn’t like the service I was getting. And it certainly didn’t suggest a temporary solution to appease my dissatisfaction (e.g., making dinner free when I use my credit card for the first time).

In the near future, however, digital agents will be far more effective at solving these kinds of problems as they take into account a range of both verbal and nonverbal cues  —  mood, personality, user satisfaction, etc. The idea isn’t just to give the right answer to questions. It’s to make sure that digital agents understand the questions, and that people feel like they are getting the right answer. By capturing and acknowledging a person’s emotions and mood, agents can offer emotional satisfaction too, and that can have a dramatic impact on overall customer satisfaction.

Some may argue that the key value of AI systems is that they can make decisions unhampered by human emotions. But when it comes to human communication, recognizing and showing emotion is very important to the outcome you are trying to achieve. An expanding body of research shows that humans respond to emotional cues by mirroring the expressions they see. This mirroring is a basic part of social interaction.

Some of the most interesting findings in AI research show that humans will treat virtual agents like a fellow human being if they get the right visual and emotional cues. This ability becomes increasingly important as computers take on more emotionally loaded roles. Medical diagnosis, for example, may be a key test of the ability of virtual agents. Computers can already, in many instances, deliver the right diagnosis. A key test is whether they can deliver it with the right bedside manner.

In a foundational book on affective computing, MIT artificial intelligence researcher Rosalind Picard wrote, “There is a time to express emotion, and a time to forbear; a time to sense what others are feeling and a time to ignore feelings. In every time, we need a balance, and this balance is missing in computing.”

Whether AI systems need to “have feelings” may well be a red herring. But recognizing feelings, and expressing the right feelings in return, is a skill that AI agents do require and are quickly learning. Rather than debate whether computers can express feelings, we should examine when they should do so. That requires more than understanding computers. It requires getting a deeper understanding of humans  —  and teaching computers to do the same.

For decades, computers have had a great poker face, projecting efficiency and accuracy. Now one of the toughest and most fruitful challenges in AI is teaching them how to offer empathy, too.


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Opinion

Presidential candidates should read White House report on AI’s rise to prominence

Bob Beck and Ed Thomas | October 26, 2016

by Bob Beck and Ed Thomas “Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to help address some of the biggest challenges that society faces,” states a line taken..

Presidential candidates should read White House report on AI’s rise to prominence

Bob Beck and Ed ThomasOctober 26, 2016

by Bob Beck and Ed Thomas

“Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to help address some of the biggest challenges that society faces,” states a line taken directly from a paper on AI published by the Executive Office of the President of the United States. While the full report runs to 58 pages and includes no fewer than 23 recommendations, the title alone, “Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence”, sums up the current White House administration’s standpoint on the topic. Clearly, whether or not AI has a role to play in the development of the global economy is no longer up for debate. Instead, the discussion has moved on to what that role will be, and how society will cope with the impact. It is therefore surprising that the topic has received little attention in the recent round of televised Presidential debates that have been watched with such scrutiny. The bullish stance on AI adopted by the White House report is heartening, but unsurprising given the technology’s rise to prominence in recent years. Once the sole preserve of computer scientists and science fiction enthusiasts, discussion of the practical applications of AI is increasingly part of the mainstream; for example, just days prior to the release of the White House report, the venerable American TV program 60 Minutes aired a segment looking at the technology, describing it as being “on the verge of changing everything.” Increasingly, AI is reshaping the way we live and work. AI platforms like IPsoft’s Amelia, a “digital employee” capable of solving problems like a human, are already being adopted by enterprises and public sector institutions alike. In just the last six months, Amelia has been “hired” to help process permit and licence applications for London’s Enfield Council, and to offer customer support for Swedish bank SEB. By harnessing AI, organizations can significantly improve productivity, and studies suggest that widespread adoption will have a major impact on future economic growth. Accenture’s recent report Why Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Growth found that AI had the potential to increase labour productivity in the US by 35% over the next 20 years. According to Accenture, this rise “will not be driven by longer hours but by innovative technologies enabling people to make more efficient use of time.” If that transformative potential is to be fully realised then it requires commitment from governments and businesses alike. Earlier this year, the head of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), the agency that advises the US president on economic policy, warned that “a much faster pace of innovation” was needed in areas such as robotics and AI “to really move the dial on productivity growth going forward”. Consequently, the White House is recommending that government spending on R&D in AI-related technologies should increase by as much as three times from its current level of just over $1bn per year. There is widespread scepticism about the ability of government to deliver real innovation – President Obama has spoken of the diminishing of society’s “general commitment…to basic research,” as well as the belief among many heads of innovative technology companies that government intervention will only serve to slow down the pace of change – so the White House report is quick to reassure readers that “the private sector will be the main engine of progress on AI.” The new government investment will mainly be put into “research with long time horizons conducted for the sole purpose of furthering the scientific knowledge base”. The US government may take an optimistic view on AI, but that does not mean it is blind to the risks and challenges arising from continued progress in the field. For example, there is the potential for greater automation to result in job losses and increased inequality. These concerns were recently highlighted by President Obama in an interview published in Wired magazine.  “If properly harnessed, [AI] can generate enormous prosperity and opportunity,” he said. “But it also has some downsides that we’re going to have to figure out.” The White House report argues that public policy can attempt to mitigate risks of extensive disruption to employment patterns by, for example, “ensuring that workers are retrained and able to succeed in occupations that are complementary to, rather than competing with, automation”. In addition, it highlights the need for greater education on a broader basis, to ensure that the population as a whole, not just those working within the field, are ready for the AI-enabled future. “An AI-enabled world demands a data-literate citizenry that is able to read, use, interpret, and communicate about data, and participate in policy debates about matters affected by AI.” Educating the public about AI need not be the sole preserve of government, of course – the private sector also has a role to play. One of the stated goals of the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society, a non-profit organization recently established by technology giants such as Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft was to “advance understanding and awareness of AI and its potential benefits and potential costs”. The key will be whether government and industry can work together successfully to achieve these shared goals. This can be challenging, but is not impossible. A public-private partnership will likely be needed to tackle the social, ethical and legal implications of AI and the new US President should plan to engage early and resource this effort with the government’s brightest minds.


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