The Role of Technology in the Post-COVID Era: A Conversation with Lorraine Parker-Clegg

On Thursday, May 21, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo, had an engaging and inspiring conversation with Lorraine Parker-Clegg, a Global Human Resources Executive. They explored their views on what they think the world will need to face in the post-COVID era, from both a business and a personal perspective.

Lorraine, like many others, predicts that there will be a substantial increase in the number of people who work remotely. She also expressed that this shift will bring about a broad set of challenges and that it is important to ensure that “execution excellence isn’t lost.” This creates an opportunity to better prepare everyone in a company, particularly managers, for the next set of challenges they will face. Managers are constantly finding themselves in situations where it is difficult for them to meet the demands and questions of those they are working with, not because they themselves are not good at their jobs, but because they were not trained to deal with the specific challenges they face. Lorraine states that she believes a solution to this issue is that in the coming months, we have to work especially hard at adequately training managers and other employees so that they can work effectively during this time of struggle. 

In their conversation, Francesco and Lorraine also discussed the role technology will play in helping people and companies overcome challenges in the post-COVID era. They discussed that it is extremely important that every person in a certain company knows how to use the technology that they need to in order to succeed at working remotely. Without ensuring this, companies will be less effective and cogent as a team. Lorraine also brought up a very important point that people are still learning how to trust technology. People are learning to trust that a piece of technology such as a chatbot, for example, would be able to “do the right thing.” In order to initiate this trust, companies such as Querlo who are building Digital Assistants must work hard to ensure that their technology will produce the right outcome if a person relies on it for support. Lorraine importantly added that tas part of this trust process, Digital Assistants need to incorporate aspects of inclusion and diversity that companies had worked toward in an in-person setting. She stated that while all of this seems somewhat complicated, one of the most important factors in establishing trust between people and AI systems is that the systems are easy to use. 

Although figuring out the most effective way to work remotely for different companies will be complicated and may take some time, Lorraine closed by saying that she believes we will eventually find the right balance between human interaction and technology assistance, and that AI will be able to help save time and energy as we figure this balance out.

Digital Assistants in the HR and Emergency Space: Conversation with Sabya Mitra

On Wednesday, May 19, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo, and Sabya Mitra, CEO of Renew HR, engaged in an interesting discussion about the impact of Artificial Intelligence systems in the world of HR, specifically how AI solutions can assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sabya has been working in HR for the last 20 years and specializes in SuccessFactors in both small and large companies. 

Before talking specifically about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on HR all around the world, he importantly draws attention to the fact that this is not the first time our world has dealt with a crisis or natural disaster situation. He uses Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, such as blizzards, that commonly isolate people in the Northeast, as examples of times when HR has to quickly figure out a way to effectively communicate with their employees. This issue arises because each employee is stuck in a different location and they are looking for company policy on how the situation is going to be handled and they are looking for the next steps they should take themselves. 

Sabya noted that another important issue that arises during times like these is “how to communicate to a large number of people, with different kinds of skill sets in terms of technology and other things, and communicate with them very decisively and in a quick period of time.” He thinks that Artificial Intelligence could greatly help effectively alleviate this complex problem. Sabya notes that one of the reasons why AI would be so useful is because it uses machine learning. Therefore, it would be able to learn from the last crisis scenario and improve itself going forward to be much more prepared for the types of questions that employees would be asking. This type of learning to improve question response is crucial because people tend to feel even more lost and anxious when they reach out to HR and don’t receive the help they are seeking. On a normal day, people in HR will receive around 20 emails and/or phone calls, however, during a crisis, that number will double or even triple. It would be virtually impossible for a person to respond to all of those questions within a day on a consistent basis without the help of AI. Sabya notes that it is important not to keep employees waiting hours, or even days, for their serious questions to be answered. 

Another substantial benefit of using AI to assist HR is that the system will communicate with HR about the feelings of their employees in order to help them figure out how to go forward during the crisis as a united company. 

During the conversation, Francesco showed Sabya one of Querlo’s chatbots as an example of how employees could access information in a simple, understandable format–almost like a WhatsApp conversation. The chatbot would also be using machine learning during this process and would communicate the concerns of the employees back to HR. This could help HR improve policies, and focus on providing their employees with the information they really want. In response to seeing the chatbot, Sabya enthusiastically says, “what you have shown, is exactly what would be needed in different situations, but particularly in crisis situations…we should learn from our mistakes based on what happened in the past…HR should know the types of questions their employees are asking so that they can be better prepared.”

How Can AI Shape Our Return to Work in a New Reality? A Conversation with David Emanuel

David Emanuel is the Chief Human Resources Officer at APR Energy. He has more than 30 years of global human resources experience, including a position as the Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources at CIT. On Thursday, May 21, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo, and David spoke about what the transition back to work will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic in the near future, and in the distant future, and the role that Artificial Intelligence will play in those changes. David stated that coming back to work is “[his] biggest focus, and how [they] can do that safely is an immediate challenge.” 

When asked whether he has seen a difference in the morales and sentiment of the employees of the companies he works with throughout the COVID-19 crisis, David says that he believes the crisis has had a direct impact on employees, especially in terms of their productivity—he thinks they are wondering, “am I working hard enough?” He believes that companies need to figure out a better way to validate people’s work and ensure that they see the impact their work is having. Francesco noted that he has found a similar sentiment among others he has talked to. People who are used to having conversations in person are struggling with the fact that they can’t even see other people’s faces while they are talking to them. This has a tendency to lower motivation to work hard and lower the sense of satisfaction from work that is already done. For these reasons, companies need to figure out how their employees can effectively work from home. 

Another important factor that arises from this is that lower motivation and satisfaction might lead to struggles with mental health and anxiety. Francesco noted that Querlo has recently launched a chatbot that can help companies assess the condition their employees are in order to provide them with the support they need. 

The big question that everyone has been asking and wondering about lately is “will we be going back to normal, or alternatively, what will a new normal look like?” When prompted with this question, David responded that he did not think we will ever be going back to the “old normal.” However, interestingly, he also believes that we haven’t yet seen the “new normal”. He states that he thinks collaborative spaces will definitely need to “change shape” in the near future, but five years from now, things could be completely different because we will have had the opportunity to work through issues that arise with new ways of working and formulate the safest and most effective way of moving forward.

AI with a 💖— Supporting 700-Year-Old Italian Art and Culture during COVID-19 Together.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented people from being able to travel and be around large groups of people, and as a result, many famous historic locations that financially rely on tourist revenue are greatly suffering. In an effort to support one of Italy’s greatest displays of historic art and architecture, Querlo has recently created a chatbot that is aimed at encouraging people to donate to help maintain Italy’s wonderful monuments of cultural and artistic importance. 

This chatbot is not only practical in the sense that it will increase the number of donations these monuments receive, but it is also informative since it allows people to learn more about the Opera del Duomo through a series of short videos that give tours of parts of the complex and provide an overview of the culture they bring to Italy. It creates an exchange of knowledge and passion to join people together to help keep the 700-year-old beauty and history of these monuments alive. 

Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore https://operaduomo.firenze.it/en

One of the most innovative and clever features of this chatbot is that it allows people to have virtual “conversations” with artists from the Renaissance period. For example, people are able to “interact” with Donatello, Filippo Brunelleschi, Michaelangelo, and others. People can ask the artists questions they have about COVID-19, concerns they may, or anything else. Through these conversations, people who are experiencing loss and loneliness during this pandemic can relate to Renniasance artists who likely endured similar difficulties during their own time. Their questions will also help train the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) abilities of this chatbot. The arts, and the culture and spirituality associated with them, are an excellent way to find comfort.

This chatbot supports both people and historic institutions during this time when comfort is much needed. This type of technology can also be used to help and support other causes or institutions that are struggling with similar issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in learning more about Querlo’s Artificial Intelligence programs, reach out to info@querlo.com.

How the Italian Renaissance can help us enter the post-COVID-19-era.

I am looking at the financial crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic as an interesting parallel to what happened in the 14th Century when the European economy went into recession.

The Hundred Years’ War between England and France triggered a European crisis, particularly when King Edward III of England didn’t pay his debt to my home town, Florence. This forced the two largest Florentine banks, the Bardi and Peruzzi, to collapse. I see a parallel to the wars following 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008.

The Black Plague was even more devastating, as it killed millions of people in Europe. Florence lost 50% of its population, and the plague triggered the revolt of the Florentine textile workers, the Ciompi, in 1378. I see this as the equivalent of the SARS and Covid-19 Pandemics with millions of people in social and business isolation.

The Black Plague resulted in labour shortages and higher wages, which then created a wealthier population. The new demand for products generated new financial systems and trading opportunities. The collapse of the Bardi and Peruzzi banks gave space to the Medici bank, powered by a new Double Ledger accounting system that allowed them to run a European-World-class banking network. I see a parallel with Bitcoin and other Blockchain solutions triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence to improve productivity, Business, and Social Intelligence.

Renaissance banking families and political dynasties like the Medici family sponsored inventors like Brunelleschi and Leonardo Da Vinci, artists like Donatello and Michelangelo. I believe that learning from the Italian Renaissance will help us propel humanity into a new Renaissance leveraging the Arts, Culture, Spirituality, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence.

With Power comes Responsibility, and this is why organizations that hold knowledge must take the responsibility to guide the world out of this crisis, and ignite a new Renaissance. This is why Querlo partnered with The Opera del Duomo of Florence, combining its customized Artificial Intelligence solutions with 700 years of Arts, Culture, and Spirituality. You can read more about my perspective on this matter in this article I published back in 2014 when we established payments in Bitcoin to reward high-school female students in Afghanistan. If you have comments and suggestions or if you want to contribute with your perspective, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at fr@querlo.com.

Please visit www.Querlo.com/chat/opera to learn more about what we are doing and take the opportunity to ask great questions to the artists of the Renaissance, this will allow us to train our NLU (natural language understanding) and give a new life to artists and inventors like Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo Da Vinci. Grazie!

The stoic decision of Italians on how they are defeating Covid-19

I took this picture of the Perseus with the Head of the Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini at the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria

Italy has declared a Quarantine for the entire country to fight the Coronavirus Covid-19 emergency. The people dying of Covid-19 in Italy have an average age of 81 years old, they were born in the late 1930’s, right in the middle of World War II, and they rebuilt this wonderful country making it possible for Humanity to access its beauty and history. This Quarantine has a devastating impact on the country’s economy and people’s personal emotions, but it is also the best choice the Italians could have done to preserve their identity and pride to exist.

Italians have a strong understanding of the intellectual and historical value of elderly people. Indeed, older people are a fundamental of Italian society providing wisdom, but also a source of contention.

What Italians are doing is stoic. I would like to take a second to explain what Stoic means, quoting Wikipedia: Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

Another fundamental aspect of Stoicism is the relationship with Ethics: For the Stoics, reason meant not only using logic but also understanding the processes of nature—the logos or universal reason, inherent in all things. Living according to reason and virtue, they held, is to live in harmony with the divine order of the universe, in recognition of the common reason and essential value of all people.

When I see that politicians in other countries are more concerned about the economic impact than the lives of the people affected by this tragedy, I realize their passive existence, lack of stoicism, and disconnect with the Universal reason. It is now obvious why Italy is the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is the cradle of the Renaissance and host of 70% of the historical value of the World, providing a deep connection between history and human values and Universal reason.

Just like Perseus beheaded the Medusa, the Italians will defeat Covid-19.

Share with me your thoughts about Italy: www.querlo.com/chat/italy

Maintain social distance.

New features released – New Node Labels, Improved Search functionality

At Querlo we are always at work to improve our product and your experience, here is the summary of the new features.

  • Node Labels
  • Search for a node

New Node Labels

A chat on Querlo is built with “Nodes”. Knowing the types of node helps you build and manage your workflows. We have added node labels in the Chat Builder to help you easily identify the types of node.

Text nodes

Different types of Branching/Question nodes

A Multiple Choice Question node
An Open Answer Question node

Answer nodes

Different types of Command nodes

A Geo Location Command node
A Change Background Command node

Search for a node

A search function has been added in the Chat Builder.

Step 1:

Go to the chat builder.

Click the “Search” button on the right side of the page to access the search function.

Step 2:

In the search field, type the text you want to find and the result of the search will show up immediately below.

Step 3:

Click on a node from the result of the search and the Chat Builder will automatically zoom-in to the node of your choice.

In this example, we have selected the Multiple Choice Question: Please choose a topic.

You can’t handle the truth…about your (artificial) intelligence

I am here to deliver you bad news. Just like raising children has been, and will be, an expensive endeavour, it will be an expensive endeavour educating your (artificial) intelligence. We are not going to sugar coat this, we are here to tell you the truth. Can you handle the truth?

Imagine the entire knowledge-base of your company digitalized and transformed into an interactive intelligence that can interact with employees, customers, investors, and even students or random visitors. Imagine if this knowledge-base could ask questions, provide answers, and improve based on those interactions.

You will realize immediately that your knowledge-base is not able to handle the variety and diversity of questions and suggestions. It’s at that point that you will have to step up to the plate and invest in improving your knowledge-base, policies, and best practice. 

Our solution will save you a lot of time, but will also force you and your team to develop better and better knowledge-base. You will start with a 40% success rate, it will climb to 50%, 60%, 70%, and it will stabilize at 80%, slowing down your progress and driving you crazy! Once you will get to that 80%, you will be able to say that you have started the process of Digitalization of your company and that now, finally! your company has an intelligent knowledge-base, which adapts to employee and market needs. In essence, even if you and some of your executives drop dead or run away, there is a process in place that allows your to company to learn and grow. Isn’t this what you want for your children?

Investors (Humans) will really appreciate this for many reasons; including some listed here below:

Employees (Humans) will not fulfil repetitive tasks but will use and develop their wisdom and use real and proprietary data.

Buyers (both Humans and Robots evaluating the purchase your company) will see an opportunity to scale the process to bigger numbers or diverse markets and solutions.

Partners (both Humans and Robots) will tag along and comply with your process escalating value for both.

Customers (Humans) will feel appreciated, protected and taken care of 24/7 and without an attitude. 

If you can handle the truth, reach out to me and let’s talk.

The only thing we can’t buy is time

The only thing we can’t buy back is our time, from the day we are born our days are counted. The life expectancy of a US citizen is 77.8 years*, which accounts for about 28,397 days, Italians make it to 82.7 years* which accounts for an extra 1788.50 days.

We spend up to 28%** of the professional time reading emails, dedicating much of our very precious time to repetitive tasks that can be managed by an AI-powered digital assistant. At Querlo we started building AI-powered digital assistants and chatbots in 2014, as of today we designed hundreds of different solutions empowering thousands of use cases.

During this journey we learned a few things:

a) Digital transformation starts from within the company, that is why it is important that HR embraces this transformation to inspire other departments.

b) Educating employees to use and leverage Artificial Intelligence is a benefit for both the company and the employee on a personal level.

c) Robots and machines were created to provide humans more freedom to execute valuable and fulfilling tasks, improve happiness and spend more time with the loved once.

The “quantity” of money generated by a business is no longer the measure of success, today success is based on the “quality” of time spent being productive, providing happiness to the communities surrounding us.

If you want to learn more about our journey in this space don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Francesco Rulli 

“There is nothing greater in life than empowering others to succeed. Artificial Intelligence is my tool of choice to help people achieve their personal aspirations.” 

• Forbes AI Solutions, Partner • Worldwide

• Querlo, AI with a 💖, Global CEO • New York • Florence • Dubai • Taiwan

• The Marketing Society, Global Ambassador

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

**https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/technology-media-and-telecommunications/our-insights/the-social-economy

Leveraging Querlo’s AI in HR: NYC RPA Solutions Summit (May 2019)

The NYC RPA Solutions Summit was an amalgamation of AI industry leaders with the focus of providing useful insights into the application and integration process of AI into scalable industries. Speakers from prestigious institutions such as AIG, Cognizant, Ernst & Young, Genpact, Cedrus Digital, and IBM were among the many organizations that presented alongside the Querlo CEO, Francesco Rulli, to deliver a collective and refreshing view of the AI industry as it exists today.

As a solution-driven organization, Querlo’s mission is to drive engagement and improve user experience through the facilitation of B2B, B2C, and B2E transactions across the web, mobile, and voice sectors of the communications industry. By leveraging the advanced qualities of existing Cloud and AI software from Microsoft and IBM, Querlo provides customers with the unique service of tailoring advanced AI systems to a specific consumer’s needs.

Querlo’s solutions span across four main categories: Sales and Customer Service, Marketing and Events, Enterprise B2E, and Bespoke AI Solutions. Querlo’s unique sales and customer service approach translates into increased conversion rates and user engagement through conversational AI that interacts with users, generating leads through digital marketing campaigns.

Marketing and Events are a quintessential element of Querlo’s mission to use AI as a complement to Human intelligence. Through Querlo’s personalized analytics, AI solutions can interact with customers and obtain the most relevant pieces of statistical information from each interaction, offering customers with an unprecedented view into the behaviors of their own users. With the insights garnered from Querlo’s intuitive software, customers can implement changes that improve their products and services, as well as giving them pertinent insights to structure marketing campaigns.

Enterprise B2E is one of Querlo’s signature services, as it breathes new life into existing documents and systems. Using conversational AI, employees can obtain the information they need in an interactive, easy way without having to read through extensive manuals and company protocols. On the other hand, employers can control the level of engagement, make decisions about what information is most important for the employees, and monitor the flow of information between the levels of an organization.

The bespoke AI solutions sector of Querlo focuses on tailoring AI systems to logistically improve business performance. Querlo’s bespoke AI solutions analyze the business model of a firm to find tasks that have the potential for automation. When automation is implemented on the correct procedures, it has a streamlining effect that gives employees more time to make more important decisions that cannot be automated.

Based on Querlo’s current metrics, the logistical benefits of using our AI systems have led to a 40% decrease in work-related transactions, a 300% improvement in employee satisfaction, and a leading average response time of 20 seconds. With 25 supported languages on our conversational AI software including Chinese and Arabic, users from around the world can access the information they need when they need it, 24/7.

Speakers:

1. Amit Amora, Cognitive & Automation Strategy, Genpact. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amit76/

2. Vandana Viswanathan, Director – Cognizant Digital Technology Consulting. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vandana-viswanathan/

3. Hanna Aljaliss, Partner – Cognitive Automation & Blockchain, Cedrus Digital. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aljaliss/

4. Sharda Cherwoo, Advisory Partner, Intelligent Automation Leader & Private Equity Senior, Ernst & Young. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharda-cherwoo-10826326/

5. Nidal Nasr – Director of Transformation and Automation, Internal Audit Group, AIG. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nidalnasr/

6. Jim Hewwit – Automation Sales Leader, IBM. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimhewitt1/