Amelia: coming to an office near you?

  • AFP
  • Updated: Sep 30, 2014 11:23 IST

IPsoft has taken the wraps off an artificial intelligence system -- Amelia -- that's already smart enough to join and empower the average workforce and get colleagues quickly updating their resumes and paying for the premium tier of LinkedIn membership.

Amelia's creators, IPsoft, claim that although ‘she' can partner with human co-workers to achieve new levels of productivity and service quality, she can also be up and running and doing her job in a fraction of the time it would take to train a person.

"Amelia will allow people to indulge in more creative forms of expression, as opposed to doing routine business process tasks. This platform will free us from the mundane, disrupting industries in the way that machines have previously transformed manufacturing and agriculture. We're going to have to rethink work by redefining existing roles and identifying new ones," said Chetan Dube, Chief Executive Officer, IPsoft.

This is a bold and very optimistic claim, but IPsoft has been developing the artificial intelligence behind Amelia (named in honor of Amelia Earhart) for 15 years. The result isn't simply a clever software trick that can mimic human behavior and therefore something that can be employed for completing a menial, repetitive, unvarying task, but something that can think like a human and build knowledge maps as its understanding grows.

"When investigating smart solutions, we must first analyze what it means to be intelligent. Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. If a system claims to be intelligent, it must be able to read and understand documents, and answer questions on the basis of that. It must be able to understand processes that it observes. It must be able to solve problems based on the knowledge it has acquired. And when it cannot solve a problem, it must be capable of learning the solution through noticing how a human did it. Amelia is that mensa kid, who personifies a major breakthrough in cognitive technologies," said Dube.

So, Amelia absorbs new information in the same way as a person and understands natural language and context meaning that she'd fit right in at a call center for example. In fact, IPsoft sees her being a star employee within financial trading, procurement processing or ‘manning' a tech help desk.

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