Apps of the Week: Artificial intelligence, Uber has some competition

Sunday Social 11/11/2018

Social media guru Anna Connell joins RadioLIVE’s Vaughn Davis to take a look at the latest in app news.

Virtual Kirwan will make us all happy

For staff of three New Zealand companies, the answer to workplace stress could soon be to consult a virtual Sir John Kirwan.

The All Black great, ex-Blues coach and longtime mental health awareness advocate is creating a workplace wellbeing programme that will include an avatar, driven by artificial intelligence.

Kirwan says he's aware of recent criticism that banks, telcos and airlines are all fronting virtual assistants styled as young women.

He says his service will launch with an avatar based on his likeness, created by Auckland startup FaceMe - recently in the news as the creator of Vodafone's "Kiri".

The exact programme is still taking shape.

Kirwan has been visiting staff at three anchor customers - The Warehouse Group, Barfoot & Thompson and Perpetual Guardian - talking to around 1000 staff individually and in groups about workplace wellbeing.

More discussions will follow before a pilot programme is introduced next year.

A friend of Sunday Social host Vaughn Davis commented online that one of the worst things about depression is the feeling that no one cares enough to listen.

He believes providing a robot would make it worse.

Xinhua News Agency debuts AI anchors in partnership with search engine Sogou

Xinhua and Beijing-based search engine operator Sogou launched new AI anchors during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen.

The AI can deliver news with “the same effect” as human anchors because the programme is able to synthesise realistic-looking speech, lip movements and facial expressions, according to a Xinhua news report.

Davis was impressed, and believes complete authenticity is inevitable. Do we want it? 

Ola update

Ola is a global rideshare app originally from India, that has recently launched in Australia and the UK.

The app is free to download and claims their rates are lower than Uber, with more profit landing in the drivers pocket too.

Ola is currently available in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and is half price for first 30 days.

Listen to the full interview with Anna Connell above.

Sunday Social with Vaughn Davis, 7pm - 8pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the Rova app on Android and iPhone.