Artificial Intelligence is not just the stuff of science fiction: it's right here, right now. What's more, it's not designed for the kinds of things you see in the movies (like becoming your friend), or the kinds of things that marketing people think we want (like your fridge ordering milk for you); instead is has been designed to save you hundreds of pounds a year on your energy bills - in a way that you wouldn't have thought possible.
The system, known as Myia, is a free intelligent assistant which will shop around for the best possible energy deal for your home. So far it doesn't sound so clever. After-all if you have a spare half hour, you could do this yourself (although in fairness most people don't get around to it).
Myia doesn't stop there, however. You just tell it once how you use energy, and it will scour the market for the company that offers the best possible deal for you. It will then bring you back a suggestion. If you decide to go for it, the system will then sort all the details of the switch on your behalf.
The idea of getting you to agree to a deal is to keep you in charge. It means there's not a robot running the show that could 'go rogue'. You're in charge of your own robot personal assistant.
The really clever bit
But the really clever part of the deal is that Myia won't stop there. If you are signed up to a fixed deal for six or twelve months, it will automatically search as your tariff gets close to ending, and come back with a better suggestion. If you are on a variable deal, it will keep searching, and the second a more competitive tariff pops up, it will alert you to that one too.
Technically, of course, we could all do this ourselves, but as Geraldine McBride, founder and CEO of MyWave - the company behind the new technology - puts it: "The market is too complicated and boring for most people to engage with, so we don't get around to switching and we end up paying far too much. You can delegate all the boring stuff to Myia, and get the time back in your life to enjoy the things you love.
The technology is already at work in New Zealand, where it is saving customers between 10% and 15% on their energy bills. The team behind the assistant say this figure will be even higher in the UK.
And it's not stopping there. The artificial intelligence programme took a few months to learn the insurance market, and it is now in the process of learning the mortgage and savings markets. It therefore won't be long before we can task Myia with the boring business of shopping around for these too.
But what do you think? Would you trust artificial intelligence with this job? Let us know in the comments.
Most outrageous bill mistakes
Most outrageous bill mistakes
Carol Sandford, 72, called 118 118 from her mobile phone unaware of the charges involved. Calls to the number cost £1.88 per call and there is also a £2.57 per minute charge from landlines. TalkTalk raises this to £5.68 for the first minute and £3.28 per minute after that. TalkTalk told Carol the charge £81.12 charge was correct but luckily 118 118 were kinder, offering to repay the charge in full. Read the full story here.
One Londoner was more than a little confused when his debit card was declined while he was trying to buy just six bottles of American craft beers. But he quickly realised that instead of the £22.30 he owed, he had been charged £223,000! It's thought he punched in the PIN number before the machine was ready and it added the numbers to the total. Luckily the 28-year-old saw the funny side and laughed the incident off. Read more on the story here.
Early Lewis from Detroit was amazed to find his water bill was almost 100 times as much as he was expecting. The bill claimed that Lewis had used 3,740 gallons of water in just one hour. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the Water and Sewage Department admitted it was a mistake and subsequently charged Lewis the $36 he should have been charged initially. Read more on this story here.
George MacIntosh, 73, was charged a staggering £200 for premium-rate gambling texts he didn't intend to sign up for. Unfortunately this wasn't a scam but a legal service from a company called Zamano. It seems the retired vicar had accidentally signed up after responding to an initial text from the company. Read the full story here.
Philip Groves was amazed to receive a £1,411 bill from Vodafone last year for his 10-year-old daughter Trinity's phone. It turns out Trinity had watched 28 hours of instructional loom band videos on YouTube, assuming her phone was using wifi. But the wifi had cut out, leaving her phone using the data allowance at it's highest rate. Vodafone refused to cancel the bill and threatened legal action. Read more here.
Daniel Pontin was in for quite a shock after opening a gas bill charging him £31,000 for a year's worth of gas in a one-bedroom home. Pontin claimed his meter was broken when he moved in and was initially charged £35 a month for six months before he stopped receiving bills. When the huge £31,000 estimated bill arrived Npower told Pontin to ignore it while they investigated. Read the full story here.