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AI Australia

Mar 26, 2019

Today we’re talking with Aire co-founder and mum of the Rita AI, Sarah Bell. Sarah discusses with us the evolution of Rita, humanisation of machines, our sci-fi future, and the ethics of big data and bias-free AI.


More about Sarah:

As a co-founder of the PropTech startup Aire, Sarah Bell is a sought after speaker and expert on the strategic application of artificial intelligence and automation in real estate. She helps real estate businesses harness the opportunity within their data and transition to a blended human-digital workforce using Aire's Digital Employee, Rita.

With a professional and academic background in research and analysis, Sarah joined the front lines of real estate as an agency owner and practitioner for a decade giving her tactical insights, subject matter expertise and just enough street cred to create solutions that are intelligent by design and Cx obsessed.

Sarah is an author, analyst, researcher, project designer, speaker and nerdtrepreneur with research interests and some pieces of paper in strategic planning, change management, planning professional development and strategic application of artificial intelligence with London's Middlesex University, Leeds Trinity University (UK) and recently MIT's Sloan Management and CSAIL Executive Schools. Sarah is also Mum to three human children and a clever little robot named Rita. She has a strong preference for dogs over cats if pushed on the subject.


  • How does Sarah see her role? Does she see herself as an entrepreneur? How did she end up in real estate?
  • How did the AI Rita come about? How did they avoid creating a solution to a problem that didn’t exist? How did their background help with this? What does Rita actually do?
  • What does Rita stand for? How has Rita become humanised among the team? Is this humanization deliberate or does it occur naturally?
  • Tech jargon isn’t relevant to customers. How does the team help customers understand what Rita does? How does this let customers connect to her?
  • Does Sarah have any practical advice for establishing an AI startup? What role does intuition play?
  • Three important questions: How can we connect humans to computers in ways that make them more intelligent? How do we connect humans to each other in ways that are more intelligent? How can we connect people to information in ways that are more intelligent?
  • Is it straightforward to hook into the right skills to take a concept or idea to an actual product? What challenges has Sarah faced on this front?
  • Do some customers see Rita as a potential risk to their jobs? How can humans and machines work collectively with their best skills?
  • Why is Rita built the way she is vs. as a chat bot? How does Sarah feel about chatbots as an interface? Will Rita one day talk directly to customers?
  • What is Sarah’s vision of the future in relation to sci-fi—Star Wars, Star Trek, Jetsons, Terminator, Altered Carbon, etc.? Which sci-fi future are we most closely going to end up in?


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