July 24, 2019 | By

AI IRL Podcast Episode 27: Pushing Humanity Forward Through AI with Amit Ben

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On this week’s episode of the AI IRL podcast, we do a quick recap of the recent 2019 VentureBeat Transform conference in San Francisco.  Our discussion meets at the intersection of creativity and technology to find the upcoming trends in AI.

Picking up where the conference left off, we continued the discourse on how AI technology and humans can work together to create a new way to transform our world.

Today’s guest, Amit Ben, who is the head of AI at LogMein, dives into the historical relationship between humans and technology.

Citing the first typewriter as an example, he explains that adapting humans to technology has been the status quo for decades. However, with the influx of AI capabilities, that’s all about to change.

“It’s time that machines start adapting themselves to us.” -Amit Ben

Adapting AI to Humans

Whether it’s mobile design, a new website, or even the first typewriter, technology has a longstanding history of being created to necessitate the ease of creating new technology. Meaning, that it can often be difficult for humans to understand how to use the technology in a way that is intuitive and easy.

For example, every junior software engineer could create a streaming service for music that allows you to stream music in a few hours. The technology is very easy to assimilate with everything at our disposal today.  However, what most people don’t realize is that consumers are paying for the AI that goes into curating that experience.

In this case, this is an example of AI being fashioned for humans.

The AI algorithms can predict which songs you would like, based on the information that they have about your listening preferences.

The human component of listening to music is deeply interconnected to the algorithms that AI incorporates.


Think of it this way, even if you only want to play music you like, you still may benefit from finding artists whose music is similar to your favorite bands’. AI can help you to find your next new favorite song, which can enhance your user experience, and your human experience tremendously.

Pushing Humanity Forward

One of the most difficult aspects of understanding AI for most of the population is the understanding of how easily it can replicate a human experience. For example, language, vision, and voice are all components that AI integrates in order to help solve problems.

Language (particularly the written language) helps modern chatbots to fall into two camps: good chatbots and bad chatbots.

How can you tell the difference?

One word: empathy.

When customers describe a problem to a customer support chatbot, they usually use emotional language. However, that type of sensitivity can be lacking in many chatbots.

However, some organizations have gotten it right.

Planned Parenthood has implemented a fantastic chatbot service that is very sympathetic to the personal nature of their interactions with real people. This is only achievable when people come first, technology second.

Dyson created a concierge AI bot that helped their line of hair care products provide more value to consumers. Their chatbot explains the product by acting as your personal stylist and will build you the right solution for your use case. This helps to make customers feel more comfortable, and informs them about how their needs will be met before they purchase a new product.

Making the customer journey simple, leads them through a conversation to find the best product fit.

“As an industry we have to start embracing humanity through AI. Let’s not think about how we can push the technology forward, but really think about how we can use the technology to push humanity forward.”-Amit Ben

This post is based on an AI IRL  podcast with Amit Ben. If you want to hear more AI episodes like this one, check us out on iTunes here.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can also find every episode here.

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