GoButler, a startup company that offers to do tasks usually relegated to personal assistants via text message, called their employees “Heroes.” These Heroes reply to inquiries, perform requests such as booking flight schedules and dining reservations, writing poems, drawing pictures, ordering food down to even delivering dry ice. The 2015 start up is trying to be your go-to resource for assisting with various types of activities.
The use of real humans as the assistants lasted for about a year until GoButler worked to reinvent itself and the Heroes were replaced by a new artificial intelligence system. From being an on-demand concierge company with a “can-do anything and everything for you” service, GoButler narrowed its offerings as a travel focused discovery and booking service instead.
Their customers would receive an automated response based on an algorithm acquired from the real human Heroes’ data which was used to respond to client queries. It learned more and improved, until the CEO Navid Hadzaad decided to move to a fully automated service. The Heroes in effect were no longer required and they lost their super powers to an automated product.
“Data was the heart of our product. So for us, the people we had weren’t just customer service agents. They were part of building the product,” said Hadzaad.
One has to wonder how the AI will continue to learn and understand the needs of its clients and how GoButler will ensure its providing a quality service. Another great example of the real-time experiment of automating the world around us. GoButler has a competitor, Magic, that still has real human “Magicians” who provide their services.