The north London borough of Enfield is to introduce a new employee called Amelia, it was announced earlier this month.
Amelia will work on frontline council services, taking resident queries, handling requests for permits and authenticating licenses. But that wasn’t what gave cause for a public announcement.
Amelia has a more unusual characteristic: she’s a robot. Enfield council worked with IPsoft, an American artificial intelligence company, to build this new “cognitive agent”.
Her personality and social skills are based on natural language processing, whereby computers learn how to interpret the emotion expressed in a human voice, so as to know how to respond appropriately. The hope is that callers won’t even notice that they’re not dealing with a human.