For many of us, meetings are a boring waste of time but the technology could soon help make them more interesting and productive. What do you do during a boring meeting?
Some people play phone games. Some secretly check out twitter on their phones or watch catch-up TV, while others fiddle with their jewellery, doodle, or simply nod off.
What is frankly worrying – if you are the meeting holder, that is – surveys show that the vast majority of us confess to doing other things during meetings.
And there is always one person _ often a man who loves the sound of his own voice – who drones on and on so no-one else can get a word in edgeways. Would it not be fantastic if an artificially intelligent (AI) meeting but could tell him to shut up?
Well, that day may not be too far away.
It is “very feasible” for an AI to recognise when one person is dominating a meeting, or when a circular discussion keeps coming back to the same point, says James Campanini from video conferencing company, BlueJeans.
“If no new points are made after a while, the AI could suggest to wrap up,” says Cynthia Rudin, a computer science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“While it’s a lovely idea to think everybody will be fabulous at running meetings, everybody is not,” observes Elise Keith from Lucid Meetings, a US-based meeting management platform.
An AI agent “might be able to determine whether a meeting leader is ensuring that each participant is being heard equally and fairly,” she says.
Voice, founded in 2016 in Silicon Valley, has created an AI assistant called Eva. As well as taking notes, Eva identifies a meeting’s action items and decisions.
“If AI can do most of the mundane and drudgery work during business meetings, that leaves more space for humans to think about strategy and vision,” argues Niki Iliadis at the London-based Big Innovation Centre, an innovation hub working in AI. –BBC