When Mr Conor Sprouls, a customer service representative at the call centre of insurance giant MetLife talks to a customer over the phone, he keeps one eye on the bottom-right corner of his screen. There, in a little blue box, artificial intelligence (AI) tells him how he's doing. Talking too fast? The program flashes an icon of a speedometer, indicating that he should slow down. Sound sleepy? There is a picture of a coffee cup. Not empathetic enough? A heart icon pops up.
For decades, people have fearfully imagined armies of hyper-efficient robots invading offices and factories, gobbling up jobs once done by humans. But in all of the worry about the potential of AI to replace rank-and-file workers, we may have overlooked the possibility that it will replace the bosses, too.