Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Jenni Henderson, Editor, Business and Economy, The Conversation

When you call up a business, you might get an automated customer service giving you options and helping you to do whatever it is you need to. This is a digital robot.

It’s common to see digital robots in these types of roles because the technology is getting cheaper and better, says Mary-Anne Williams, founder and director at UTS’ Innovation and Enterprise Research Lab.

Williams researches how humans interact with different types of robots, in customer service roles. She says because digital robots can access vast amounts of data about certain customers, these bots can provide a more specialised and customised service, similar to that of the good old days.People have fewer problems dealing with digital robots than humans because machines don’t make emotional or ethical judgements about customers that make them uncomfortable.

However, when it comes to physical robots in customer service roles, our reactions can be very different. In research on these robots, there is a concept called “the uncanny valley”. This is where the closer the robot is to human form or face, the more uncomfortable or eerie we feel. So there’s that to overcome.

Experiments students at Williams’ lab have conducted in a shopping mall show that these physical robots have to work hard to attract our attention and we’re easily underwhelmed by them, compared to the ones we see on TV or movie screens.

The next big frontier for physical robots in business is to get them to empathise with customers, to understand the context around questions and interactions. And with the speed of innovation, this may be closer than we think, Williams says.

The business briefing podcast will return with a new format in 2017. If you’ve got any feedback you’d like to pass on, please email it to: ask@theconversation.edu.au

Authors: Jenni Henderson, Editor, Business and Economy, The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/business-briefing-when-robots-and-customers-meet-70400

Writers Wanted

Word from The Hill: the Biloela Tamil family, G7 and the upcoming parliamentary fortnight


Why do Tamil asylum seekers need protection — and why does the Australian government say they don't?


The Conversation


Prime Minister interview with Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon

Karl Stefanovic: PM, good morning to you. Do you have blood on your hands?   PRIME MINISTER: No, it's obviously absurd. What we're doing here is we've got a temporary pause in place because we'v...

Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon - avatar Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon

Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered Keynote Address at AFR Business Summit

Well, thank you all for the opportunity to come and be with you here today. Can I also acknowledge the Gadigal people, the Eora Nation, the elders past and present and future. Can I also acknowled...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Morrison Government commits record $9B to social security safety net

The Morrison Government is enhancing our social security safety net by increasing support for unemployed Australians while strengthening their obligations to search for work.   From March the ...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

5 Signs Your Business Needs Onboarding Software

Onboarding software is the technology that automates a smooth transition for new hires from before the interview to the first day on the job. High-quality onboarding platforms feature a digital da...

Onboarded - avatar Onboarded

What Is COVID 19 Risk Assessment for Vulnerable Workers and Why Your Business Needs it

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments strongly advised people to just stay at home as a critical effort to stop the spread of the virus. This led to many businesses temporarily s...

NewsServices.com - avatar NewsServices.com

Where Does Australia Stand in the Global Green Energy Transition?

Renewable energy sources seem to be the solution for a less polluted environment, but the transition from fossil fuel is not that easy to make. After all, we still have entire industries that base...

NewsServices.com - avatar NewsServices.com