Smart machines at DKV, the Co-Operative Bank, and Xerox Premium

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McKinsey & Company estimates that gains in labor productivity due to advances in the automation of knowledge work could equal between 110 million to 140 million full-time workers by 2025, with an overall economic impact of $5.2 to $6.7 trillion. Find inspiration on how to harness new technologies by considering three current smart machine success stories.

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Deep Knowledge Ventures appoints robot to board of directors
In May 2014, Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV), a Hong Kong-based venture fund management company focused on drugs and therapies for age-related diseases, appointed a machine learning software program called VITAL to the company’s board of directors. “All the investment decisions will be made with the consideration of VITAL’s vote,” says Susan Shao, an analyst at DKV. VITAL makes decisions by scanning prospective companies’ financing. According to DKV Senior Partner Dmitry Kaminsky, “The intuitions of human investors together with the machine’s logic give a perfect collaborative team. The risk of mistake will be minimized.”

The Co-Operative Bank automates costly, error-prone process
The Co-Operative Bank (UK) worked with process automation software vendor Blue Prism to automate the bank’s “excess queue procedure.” Prior to automation, each day a team of 11 employees would manually review about 2,500 high-risk accounts without sufficient funds for transactions entered the day before. After review, they would make a decision to either return or process the payments depending on the account profile of each customer. After successfully automating 80% of this process, the software now fulfills work equal to that of 20 people, completing the workload by 11am each day.

Xerox Corp. automates hiring for its call centers
Since 2012, Xerox has been working with San Francisco start-up Evolv to use big data to improve its hiring process. “Before the automation, some of the assumptions we had weren’t valid,” says Connie Harvey, Xerox’s chief operating officer of commercial services. The new software has helped managers at Xerox to overcome human biases, which were previously impeding the process. After a six-month trial, which enabled Xerox to reduce attrition by a fifth, the company now uses the software program in the hiring processes of all of its call centers, which currently employ over 50,000 customer service agents.

Based on, among other, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson ad Andrew McAfee (W.W. Norton & Company, January 2014), “Hong Kong VC firm appoints robot to its board by Aviva Gat (Geektime, May 2014) and “Deep Knowledge Venture’s Appoints Intelligent Investment Analysis Software VITAL as Board Member (PRWEB, May 2014).

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