The industry is already being transformed by the pandemic as a shift to automation accelerates, threatening jobs
Many industries have been dramatically disrupted by the pandemic, but the call centre sector is already being transformed by it. Even before the enforced lockdowns, it was witnessing the gradual introduction of new technology based on artificial intelligence that can do some of the tasks done by humans — and potentially replace millions of jobs.
Alorica, one of the largest outsourcing companies serving US customers, operates a bot called AVA (Alorica’s Virtual Assistant), which takes over mundane and repetitive tasks from agents so that they can focus on more complex work that requires human interaction.
“If you are thinking, ‘Hey, the new normal is that 50 per cent of the work will be done by bots’, it’s not going to be [like] that,” says Bong Borja, Alorica’s president for Asia. However, “there’s going to be a lot of digital transformation”, he adds. “It was being done pre-Covid, and may accelerate, may expand the use.”
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