Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The rise of artificial intelligence and robots may not mean the end of jobs for people; instead, says Kriti Sharma of accounting software provider Sage, they can free employees to be more creative at work.

Sharma, vice-president of bots and AI, helped develop Sage's chatbot, Pegg, which hides the complexities of accounting, letting entrepreneurs manage their finances through conversation.

"Pegg takes away a lot of the pain by making it as easy as chatting to a friend on Facebook," Sharma says.

She has the following suggestions:

When developing a robot, it is important not to try tocreate a human. "Humans aren't naturally the most optimised for tasks like intelligent automation, which is what we're developing bots for in the first place.";

Robots should not reflect human biases and stereotypes. For example, many virtual assistants use female voices, building on the stereotype that women are only involved in administrative and personal-assistance work. Bots should feel welcoming to people irrespective of their gender, language or culture; and

The teams that make robots, and the data that bots use for their inputs, must be diverse, Sharma says. 

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