A world first an AI named CEO
artificial intelligence is taking over
NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited, a Chinese company described as “a world leader in building internet communities”, announced last August that Tang Yu, “a virtual humanoid robot powered by AI”, had been appointed rotating CEO of its flagship subsidiary, Fujian NetDragon Websoft Co., Ltd. A world first which sounds above all like a great communication operation for the firm based in Fuzhou (southeast).
But Tang Yu, with his impeccable haircut and fitted jacket, isn't really a robot in the real sense. No chance of seeing her wandering around the offices and greeting the employees. It's actually an AI-powered algorithmic program that's supposed to streamline decisions.
If its creators gave it a woman's face and voice, these are confined to a computer screen. The company explains, not without a good dose of waffle, that the appointment of Tang Yu highlights the strategy “AI + management” of society and represents a major step towards a “metaverse organization”.
Tang Yu will be in charge of “streamline process flow”, “to enhance the quality of work tasks” and “to improve execution speed”. It will also serve as a real-time data hub and analytical tool to support rational decision-making in day-to-day operations, as well as to make the risk management system more efficient.
In addition, Tang Yu should “play a vital role in developing talent and ensuring a fair and efficient workplace for all employees”. In short, it will mainly perform automated tasks.
In reality, Tang Yu is not quite in his infancy. NetDragon unveiled this character in 2017, giving him the position of number 2 in the company. The company was looking at the time to show its customers that artificial intelligence could be developed for its games, but also be useful in real life, for example by helping the company.
As for the functions of CEO, they only seem symbolic since, to our knowledge, it is not possible for an AI to be legally responsible. And therefore to sign a new contract with a partner, for example.
A CEO who works around the clock
But is the robot really running the business? Yes and no, because obviously it is humans who program the robot and who can unplug it at any time. Her powers are therefore not unlimited, but once the program is launched, the robot CEO works in an almost “normal” way.
She is able to approve, sign documents, like any CEO, but also to manage projects, evaluate staff performance, and possibly decide on sanctions. “Tang Yu will streamline processes, improve the quality of work tasks and the speed of execution”, rejoices NetDragon. The company highlights its rationality and logic, because unlike humans, it has no feelings. The robot CEO has the advantage of working 24 hours a day, and all that, without being paid.
At least, Tang Yu is not greedy in salary and stock options: she does not touch any 🙂