This post was inspired by Darby Sieben’s article on LinkedIn, in which he asked if you should treat your AI assistant with the same respect as a human. This question extends to the overall brand experience and how team members and customers alike interact and engage with the AI your brand may have or will be deploying in the future. Let’s dive in!
Artificial intelligence has exploded into our lives – from voice assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, to Amy Ingram (x.ai) who handles scheduling appointments, to Starbucks’ new Barista AI on their mobile app. Humans are beginning to interact with AI assistants on a daily basis, working with them to complete transactions, inquire and request information, even scheduling meetings. Then there are the chat bots that create a brand experience and begin the customer journey into a brand’s world.
Going back, autoresponder sequences were some of the first “chat bots” so to speak. The idea being you compose a series of emails with a specific call to action. Then, you schedule those emails to go out to your list or to people who showed interest by signing up to receive a content upgrade or subscribing to an email newsletter.
All of these examples deal with the brand experience and an intentionally designed customer journey experience. Now, as we interact and speak with our AI assistants, we are entering a new type of brand experience and one that has many questions left to be answered.
Darby brings up an excellent question in his article, “Should you treat your AI assistant with the same respect as a human?” He writes that for him, it is in his nature to be respectful with anyone that he engages with, even if it is AI. He first struggled with this, then realized that one of his core beliefs is to treat everyone with respect, AI included. He writes,
I struggled with why it bothered me. She was a machine after all. Not a person. But she interacts like a person. She has a human name. Then I realized it had nothing to do with Amy and everything to do with me. My politeness in dealing with Amy had less to do with treating her like a human and more to do with my core belief (thanks to my parents) of treating all interactions with respect. My parents could never have imagined that would extend to an AI bot – to be honest. There was no struggle, I just needed to be true to myself.
Amy is now a valuable part of my team. So much so, that I include her on my org chart. This has created a funny story with my HR team, but that is for another post. Despite the fact that she is simply a machine run by incredibly smart people with offices in New York, she interacts like any other person on my team, with a clear job to do.
A Future of Working Side by Side with AI
As companies continue to evolve and enhance the brand experience for their customers, AI will continue to become more integrated into how we engage and interact with brands. I wholeheartedly agree with Darby in that we should respect our AI assistants, just as we would our human assistants or teammates. As AI continues to evolve, they are becoming more aware of their surroundings, are able to think on their own, and make decisions.
The last thing we’d want is to have an uprising of AI against humans because of how they are being treated.
I love how Darby states in his article that Amy Ingram has a place on his company’s HR organizational chart as “she” is an integral part of the team and plays a clear role in advancing the company forward.
Brand experiences are all around us and constantly evolving. Working with, interacting, and engaging with AI will become a personal reflection of how individuals treat others, including AI.
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What’s Your Take?
Is it important to be respectful of AI assistants just as you would human teammates? Why or why not? Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter and let me know!