Are you a Call Center worker who answers Customer Service phone calls? Do you hate your job because for your entire shift you never know who’s going to yell at you next? Don’t worry! The good people at IBM are working to bring Watson into the Customer Service arena, displacing you from your job. Coming to a phone cubicle near you soon.While IBM designed Watson to master the game of Jeopardy, that was always just a marker along the way to the fuller realization of Watson’s capabilities. In this video, IBM scientists talk about bringing Watson to the world of telephone-based Customer Service Call Centers.
It’s understandable why the corporate world would want to use Watson as their Customer Service Rep whenever possible:
- It’s cheaper in the long run, since it works 24/7/365 and never needs a bathroom break.
- It knows nearly everything, and what it doesn’t know it can hand off to a human.
- It can handle huge swings in the workload, thereby minimizing the wait time for callers.
- There are probably dozens of other valid business reasons to employ Watson rather than human call center workers.
But, oh, the humanity! Working in a call center, answering customer service calls and moving through menu-driven problem solving trees is a job that many people can do when they can’t do other things. It doesn’t require driving skills, or a college degree, or physical strength. It can be done by people who have limited mobility and/or are confined to a power chair. It can be done by people who are young, old, or in-between. It can be done by college students, as I did when I was in college in the 1980s.
But now, it’s about to be done by Watson, and people who take these jobs for granted today will be out of work tomorrow.
The only bright side is, when you now yell and curse at the Customer Service Watson, it won’t hurt any real feelings.