Tech Transformers

‘World’s angriest robot’: Checking in on your company sometime soon?


Every sci-fi fan knows the danger of a malicious machine: think Hal 9000 in "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "I, Robot"'s VIKI. But now researchers could be developing their own real-life version.

Customer engagement consultancy and technology firm, Touchpoint Group, is investing at least 500,000 Australian dollars ($405,800) into a research project, whereby scientists will create an artificial intelligence (AI) machine filled with years' worth of angry customer complaints.

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Data experts from Australia and New Zealand will program a machine, under project name "Radiant", with two years' worth of irate calls – supplied by a leading Australian bank and data from other businesses – as a way of teaching companies how to handle angry customers, The Australian reports.

"Radiant" is named after a supercomputer - Prime Radiant - from an Isaac Asimov book series and dubbed the "world's angriest robot" by the world's media coverage. It, however, won't be expected to act like any evil robot found in science fiction.

The machine – if successful – will hopefully improve customer experience, by playing out several "what if" situations to see if these scenarios are likely to anger or help the customer.

Touchpoint CEO and co-founder, Frank van der Velden said in a statement that "one of the key objectives of Radiant is to automatically detect these situations, and to allow both risks and customer opportunities to be quickly acted on."

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Mr van der Velden, told The Australian, that they hope the AI machine will eventually be able to actually advise solutions for businesses on specific customer issues.

"This will be possible by enabling our AI engine to learn right across a whole range of interactions of what has and has not worked in past examples," Mr van der Velden said.

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The company is currently working with banks, insurance and telecom companies; however this experiment could become a valuable asset to any company susceptible to receiving customer complaints.

"Companies don't have the numbers of staff to go through this manually. It's very difficult. Take a bank for example, they receive a hell of a lot of data every day. But it gets to a point where that dataset grows so large that it becomes meaningless unless you can interpret it. That's where Radiant will fit in," he said.

The project is expected to go live by the end of the year.

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