AI Augments Real People. Sort of… | Interview with Rett Crocker (Part 3)

How can AI help employees? Will AI replace people? How can employees prepare for and adapt to the emergence of AI? What is the future of AI?

This is part three of of our interview series we had with expert Rett Crocker, CEO/CTO of Udu. See part 1 here:

See part 2 here:

Learn more about Rett and Udu at

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Alexander Ferguson 0:01
Welcome to UpTech Report series on AI. I’m Alexander Ferguson. This is the third part of my conversation with Rett Crocker, CEO and CTO of Udu in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rett has designed and developed over 100 games for mobile devices, personal computers and video game consoles. He’s also invented multiple programming languages, game engines and multi user content. And he’s created innovative software technologies in fields ranging from speech synthesis, to adver, gaming to collaborative education, I talked to read about AI augmentation, whether AI will replace people and what to expect in the future of artificial intelligence. I start with asking Rett, how can AI help employees?

Rett Crocker 0:46
There are multiple companies that are doing AI type stuff with, with customer support people, where they’re effectively augmenting what those people do. So they’re sitting there on the other end of a chat session, and person says, Oh, I’ve got a problem with my, you know, cable modem or something my internet’s gone out, or I don’t know what it is. Something’s wrong with my x. And the system sort of reads that text and, and tries to guess, oh, it’s probably one, two or three is their problem. And so the customer support person doesn’t actually have to say, debug the full thing. They just have to say click click, click, and eventually they’ll get involved, right? Because it’ll get you 80% of the way there probably,

Alexander Ferguson 1:38
will AI replace people. So there’s

Rett Crocker 1:41
the gentle version of that, which is that most people aren’t going to be replaced. I often say the goal with you do certainly and certainly with other AI’s, but I know it’s our goal definitely is augmentation, not intelligence. So we’re trying to make humans smarter. Because let’s face it, in this world that we live in, there’s a lot of instances where humans are doing grunt work, stuff that is so dead simple that anybody could do it. And it’s amazing to me that we’re allowing human intelligence to do something like looking on, Oh, I gotta look on LinkedIn and find this person’s job title. That’s dumb. Why are we doing that? But, you know, it’s sometimes that’s what you have to do. To be fair, there’s also things that humans are good at, and machines are not and vice versa. And really, I think the right future for us, I don’t know if we’ll end up there. But the right future for us is one where the AI’s of the world are basically aiding us and allowing us to do not have to do that grunt work. And instead, we’re doing all the stuff that really requires a big brain. The reality though, so that’s the nice version. The reality, though, is that, yeah, people are going to lose their jobs, no question about it. So that’s a net loss to humanity in terms of jobs. But I would argue that it’s a net game in turn, a net gain in terms of it’s a net game to humanity, in terms of quality of life. And so those folks will hopefully find jobs where they don’t have to sit in a cube farm every day and click, click, click,

Alexander Ferguson 3:29
how can employees prepare for and adapt to the emergence of artificial intelligence?

Rett Crocker 3:36
If you’re sort of planning to be in the business world, 10 years from now, then you better be familiar and comfortable with this technology. Although to be fair, one of the things that good software does is it has affordances for its users. So the best examples of that, in my opinion are with folks that have disabilities of some type. That’s, that’s a pretty dramatic affordance. To to account for. And the best software does that. In many ways, AI needs to do the same thing because we humans, even though we’ve got like, really interesting ways of thinking, we’re slow and dumb, in some ways compared to AI, verticals anyway, at that particular task. And so having, if the AI makers of the future and today are any good, they’re gonna build software that actually works well with the human component. I’m a big believer in what’s called human in the loop technology, which is basically having AI again, it’s sort of augmentation. It’s like aI where there’s a human involved component there. And that human is there to both check the AI’s work and sort of help graded validated what have you, but also to, to, you know, help that human effectively it becomes a symbiotic symbiotic relationship, right where the human and AI sort of work together to solve a particular problem.

Alexander Ferguson 5:09
Lastly, I asked red, what is the future of AI?

Rett Crocker 5:14
Now, the future of AI is, I think it’s many different things, I think it’s much more likely that we’re going to end up with a lot of sort of vertical AI systems that can do a thing very well than one general purpose that can do a lot of things, we’re not going to end up with how we’re going to end up with Google Assistant is really quite good at figuring out well, not Google Assistant, really, it’s maps and things like that they’re quite good at giving me information about locations. So you know, having a bunch of verticals, and then having a way to tie them all together, is what I think actually eventually gets us something that’s more like a general purpose AI. But I don’t think it’ll be general purpose. I mean, that eventually will happen. I’m pretty confident of that fact, the things you see with Google’s translation engines, inventing their own languages, and all that stuff really sort of illustrates that we’re sort of both further along and way behind where we where we thought we’d be. If I had to, if I had to truly predict and say, Okay, five years from now, what does AI look like? I would say that I think self driving cars are either

a couple years away, or 20 years away. I’m not really sure which, so five years, I placed that bet. I don’t think it’d be 100% general purpose, like you can let it go anywhere, it’d be like, most places.

I think the the thing to really think about, from an AI standpoint is what we truly want it to do. I think of it in the context of business quite often, because that’s what we do. There are a lot of very difficult questions that business owners and business people generally have. That could be answered with good data. And so long as you can get good data, then you can get pretty good predictions. And so I think that is where things get interesting.

Alexander Ferguson 7:37
That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you subscribe to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.


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