Many call Tang Yu “woman-robot”, but you will have no chance of seeing her wandering the halls of NetDragon Websoft, where she has “worked” since 2017, since she is a virtual humanoid. On the other hand, on the networks, she will be able to analyze data and give instructions 24 hours a day, without any salary.
◆ High hopes in artificial rather than natural intelligence
It is with pleasure that the founder of NetDragon Websoft, Dr. Dejian Liu, announced that Ms. Tang Yu, an AI-powered virtual humanoid robot, has been appointed rotating CEO of its flagship subsidiary, Fujian NetDragon Websoft. “ We believe AI is the future of business management “, he said in a statement released in late August. “ The appointment of Ms. Tang Yu reflects our commitment to fully embrace the use of AI to change the way we operate our business and ultimately drive our strategic growth. »
According to Free lunch“ Mrs Tang Yu can only do what she has been programmed to do, and the leaders of the parent company can take control at any time. But “ she can approve or reject the suggestions of her subordinates. She can sign documents. It can evaluate the performance of employees and therefore decide who should receive a salary increase or on the contrary who should be sanctioned. And she speaks, to explain her decisions. »
A runaway with regard to technology that is not new since Tang Yu has been number 2 in the company since 2017. Today, she is CEO of this company born in 1999, which today has several thousand employees and makes billions of dollars, in particular by creating video games and internet communities.
Note, however, that on the page devoted to the management team, Tang Yu does not appear, any more than any other woman made of flesh and bone, for that matter.
◆ A limitless digital machines physicals or psychics
With her classic costume and haircut, Tang Yu is as devoid of feelings as of moods. And NetDragon is delighted: Tang Yu will streamline processes, improve work task quality and execution speed “. And this, every day, without interruption and without being paid.
With her, there are no unforeseen events due to illness, accident, painful periods or aging. No sensitivity to electromagnetic waves or foul coffee from the collective machine. No meals, transport or holidays to pay, nor children to be born or to be looked after. No touchiness, mood swings, gossip or ego touched. No fatigue, no stress, no bias, cigarette breaks or animosity. No love affair or under the belt that can disturb the atmosphere in the office. No humor that could be misinterpreted, time-consuming active listening or handshakes that could be “covided”.
No, nothing but analytics, calculation, decision-making, rational, to objectively optimize the performance of the gaming subsidiary Fujian NetDragon Websoft!
Only a few rare events almost never mentioned, such as a computer disconnection, a power failure or a cyber-attack, could invalidate it. A dream in bars for those who prefer profitability and efficiency to humanity, with its quirks… and its qualities!
◆ Unsuspected risks?
We nevertheless reached out to NetDragon Websoft to find out if there were any risks that power would slip away from human leaders and that Tang Yu would make decisions autonomously that could destabilize the company, and if the company had safeguards to ensure computer security. If she answers us, we will keep you informed.
Another question: if Tang Yu were to make mistakes, who will be legally responsible?
◆ After business, education?
NetDragon being very invested in the field of education, one can wonder if soon humanoid professors will give lessons to humans.
On its website, the company explains that in 2018 it launched “ AI Assistant for 101 Education PPT”, the “ first “AI+ Education” product, showcasing a teacher-hosted smart classroom and numerous “teaching assistants” “. In 2019, she created “ the classroom of the future by combining 5G and holographic technology “. In 2020, she says she has “ provided distance learning support to teachers and students around the world, advancing education despite the Covid-19 pandemic “, and that she is in the process of associating with “ a number of world-renowned educational institutions, publishers, and universities to integrate tons of excellent educational resources around the world. »
◆ Soon a lazy world?
Are we heading towards a world where there will be no need to learn, even more to drive, slumped in our autonomous and connected vehicles? In which knowledge can be downloaded into brain implants (of some only?) instantly and effortlessly? Where will agriculture be in the hands of drones and robots?
A world where doctors at the other end of online consultations, at home or in medical teleconsultation booths, will be humanoids? Where will vein-detecting robots chain stitch in vaccination booths and centres? Where journalism will be replaced by robot journalism?
A world where we can also “decide” to let ourselves be carried away by the technology put in the hands of a few experts, to live the life of which we are the hero in a virtual way within the metaverse, rather than evolve in consciousness and sometimes in suffering in the real world?
These are questions we’d love to ask Tang Yu, but not sure she can answer…
Article by Estelle Brattesani
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