AI and Automation News Roundup

AI and Automation News Roundup

3 min read

From exciting, new applications to electrifying tech innovations, the twin fields of artificial intelligence and automation are evolving every day. If you missed the latest developments making the news, we have you covered. Here’s a quick recap of the top three AI and automation stories worth knowing.

What CX Leaders will be Talking About on World CX Day 

October 4 is World CX Day—a day to celebrate CX professionals and recognize important innovations impacting the industry. This year’s theme is “CX Drives Success,” and it’s easy to see why.  According to a recent report, covered by the MIT Technology Review, 87% of respondents identified CX as a strategic differentiator of their brand. And with advances in CX technology, including conversational AI and automation, analysts and experts agree that digital CX will become a competitive battleground for more businesses (and startups in particular). 

Just how will companies explore how CX drives success? Through roundtables, educational sessions and open community events, like Uniphore’s CX Day LinkedIn Live discussion (October 4 at 10 a.m. PST). In addition to discussing new and emerging CX trends and technology, much of this year’s agenda will focus on agent experience—specifically the challenges of remote/hybrid work as well as the ongoing effects of the Great Resignation

Starbucks to Invest Millions in Automation and Employee Experience

Last month, Starbucks revealed its future business and leadership strategy during its much-anticipated Investor Day. While customers may eagerly await the brand’s redesigned Cold Beverage Station, investors are no doubt more interested in the

$450 million invested in equipment automation.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the new automated system promises to cut the time it takes to make a Frappuccino from nearly a minute and a half to roughly 30 seconds by adding an automated ice dispenser and whipped cream dispenser. 

The move is seen as both an opportunity to increase efficiency as well as improve employee experience, which has become a hot button issue after more than 200 of its 9,000 stores unionized. According to The New York Times, the automated technology is designed to simplify complex drink preparation tasks and allow baristas to focus more on customer interactions than on manual processes. Starbucks Chief Technology Officer, Deb Hall Lefevre, was quick to point out that the machines, however, would not be replacing human workers anytime soon. “We will never replace our baristas,” she said. “Rather, our job is to automate the work and simplify it so that their job is easier.”

AI-Generated Art is Gaining Appeal—and Raising Questions

Digital art is nothing new. However, up until recently, such artwork was largely rendered by human artists working on digital programs like Photoshop. That’s changed within the past few years. As artificial intelligence tools become more sophisticated, their applications have likewise become broader. This includes applications that generate art based on code rather than creative technique. Earlier this month, game designer Jason Allen created a buzz when his AI-created artwork, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial”, took first prize in the “Digital Arts/Digitally Manipulated Photography” category of the Colorado State Fair. 

Allen used the popular text-to-image AI generator Midjourney to create his winning piece. According to The New York Times, apps like DALL-E 2 and Midjourney are built by scraping millions of images from the open web, then teaching algorithms to recognize patterns and relationships in those images and generate new ones in the same style. In the case of Midjourney, a commercial product only a few months old, users enter text prompts that engage an AI-powered bot to source imagery from a database of tens of thousands of graphics cards.  

“Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” sparked controversy when a Twitter post accused him of being deceptive in his submission. Allen defended his artwork, saying he was explicit in describing the tool he used and accusing critics of overlooking his human input in their attack of the technology. “I made the prompt, I fine-tuned it for many weeks [and] curated all the images,” Allen said.

It shouldn’t be an indictment of the technology itself. The ethics isn’t in the technology. It’s in the people.

Bonus Video: Debunking the Myth of Conversational AI in the Contact Center

Zeus Kerravala from ZK Research joined us on the most recent webinar titled “Leveraging Conversational AI to Turn the Great Resignation into the Great Opportunity” and shared his most common heard contact center and AI myth and how he would debunk it: 

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