Sarah could feel sweat begin to gather on her brow and spine as she swiveled on the chair of her GP2T work from home station, her SabiLens strapped on her face.
“Can you close a sale when you are under immense pressure?” the interviewer asked again, this time with something of an eerie smile formed across his face. Sarah knew the interviewer was an AI powered digital avatar, but even this did not erase that feeling of trepidation people face when they were in a job interview.
“Yes, I can Sarah answered”, mustering all the confidence she could into her voice and facial expression.
She continued, “While working as a physical sales agent for my previous employer, I often had to deal with complex situations and close deals under different scenarios… I believe I can transition these same set of skills into my work for your company as a virtual sales agent.”
There was an awkward pause, the interviewer’s face looked lifelessly blank; it appeared it was searching through its program files or source codes or whatever it was that made it seem human, for the next appropriate query for Sarah.
“You will now be trans-morphed to a simulated scenario where you have to deal with Mr. Okoro, an angry customer in one of our virtual malls” the AI interviewer responded, finally finding its voice.
Before Sarah could process the fact that she was going to experience her first taste of what selling to customers, albeit simulated, unreal and angry ones; the walls, the chairs, the tables and everything that made up the interview room she was just in seemed to dissolve around her.
In its place, what appeared to be a typical shop materialized, complete with people moving around and engaged in activities that would have passed as a typical day in any mall, only, this was virtual and simulated.
For Sarah, this was her first virtual interview. From her GP2T station in her small apartment in the suburb of Lagos, she could travel the world, go on virtual dates, attend virtual classes, hang out with friends, and even have sex with a virtual companion.. in fact, life in the virtual world was almost limitless.
Like many who had embraced this new reality, all Sarah needed to do was put on her SabiLens, connect her vital points to each node from the device, and viola! she was automatically transported into a digital virtual world where anything is possible, including as in her present case, have a live interview with an AI agent that looked human by all standards.
Since the pandemic of 2020, companies had embraced technologies that helped them automate their processes and limit inefficiency caused by humans. HR processes and Interviews were now carried out remotely and virtually. Companies utilized AI agents like the one Sarah was now dealing with in this interview.
As Sarah focused her attention on the new virtual scene, there by the counter, she noticed the Mr. Okoro, a short middle aged man, speaking to the one of the other sales agent in a high-pitched and dissatisfied tone. Sarah knew this was her cue, if she must get this job, then she must be able to with her emotional demeanor and choice of keyword, calm Mr. Okoro down, and make sure he made a purchase before leaving the shop.
‘The work and life of a sales agent’, Sarah mused. Customers will always be customers, she knew all Mr. Okoro needed was a bit of pamper, and the reassurance that she was on the same side as him. Sarah could feel the smile from her face in the physical world transmorph unto the face of her digital avatar.
Once assured of her plastered smile, she mentally guided the walk of her digital avatar towards Mr. Okoro who was diligently playing his part in this unreal and scripted world.
“Hello Mr. Okoro” she greeted.
***********Not To Be Continued***************
This is a fictional story, where I paint a picture of a world years from now. A world that has learnt many lessons post the Corona epidemic. A world where the power of Virtual & Augmented reality is brought into all aspect of human life as a way to reduce human to human contact and limit the possibilities of future pandemics. Not just that, companies are also realizing that they can save cost and boost profit by creating virtual shopping experiences for their customers. But even in this, they realized that human to human touch and communication, also, the empathizing of the customer’s feeling by sales agent, led to better conversion and higher sales.
‘The human touch’, as the phenomenon became known as, was the one area where AI avatars, even with all their sophistication and cold efficiency were still unable to conquer.
In the new economy, are lot more jobs and gigs in the digital space. Jobs like Virtual sales agent, virtual instructors and coaches, virtual entertainers and even virtual sex service providers were all possible in this new reality.
Nevertheless, before we jump many years ahead of us, there are some pertinent changes which we will likely deal with after we get past this dark global pandemic cloud.
I believe it is crucial for everyone and even businesses to position themselves favorably for this new world that would ride on the high speeds of 5G connectivity, decentralized ledger systems of blockchain, efficient AI algorithms, unlimited virtual realities and more.
Things may not all be rosy and progressive, we may also have to deal with a reluctant global economy, psychological trauma and social aloofness borne out of distrust for people who are not in our circle of trusted family and friends. We will have to deal with quickly disappearing middle class and greater economic divides. There will also be the issue of data and privacy intrusion not only from big tech companies, but also from government institutions.
As we prepare to go into this new world. The momentum and mindset with which we enter it will determine what becomes of us in the coming decade.
I am putting together a more detailed brief of these possible changes we would have to meet and deal with post Covid19. If you would like to receive this resource as a free .pdf , then send me your email via this Google form link.
To your success and mine in the coming months and years.
2020s & The Future Beyond.
I recently released my book, 2020s & The Future Beyond, which dives deeply into what the future of this decade and the ones that come after will look like especially as it relates to the development of AI and other emerging technologies. Click here to learn more.