Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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Artificial Intelligence Chatbots – Startup Posh has created a chatbot that uses conversational memory to have more natural conversations. The Posh chatbot is currently used by about a dozen credit unions across a variety of voice and text platforms. Credit: Image courtesy of Posh

Comedian Bill Burr said on his deathbed years later that he refused to call an automated customer service line for fear of only thinking about seconds wasted dealing with chatbots.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

The frustrating experience of trying to complete even a simple task through an automated customer center is enough to make anyone question the purpose of life.

Introduction To Chatbot

Now, startup Posh is trying to make conversations with chatbots more natural and less annoying. It does this with artificial intelligence-based systems that use “chat memory” to help users complete tasks.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

Karan Kashyap ’17, SM ’17, co-founder and CEO of Posh, said, “Typically, bots take what you say at face value. It does not link what was said in the previous conversation. “If you think about human conversations, especially in places like banks or customer service where there are tellers, what you said in the past is very important, so we want to make bots more human by giving them the ability for them to remember information that has been focused on in the past. on Conversation.”

The Posh chatbot is currently used by over a dozen credit unions via voice and text channels. With a well-defined customer base, the company was able to improve performance by training the system on only the most relevant data.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning Algorithms To Transform Chatbots

The founders plan to gradually collaborate with companies in other fields to collect industry-specific data and expand the use of the system without compromising performance. Matt McEachern ’17, SM ’18, co-founder and CTO of Kashyap and Posh, plans to offer chatbots as a platform for developers to build on in the future.

Expansion plans will attract businesses from a wide range of sectors. Kashyap says some credit unions have managed to resolve over 90% of their customer calls with the Posh platform. The company’s expansion could also help alleviate the frustrating experience of calling traditional customer service lines.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

“There is no ‘press one or press two’ concept when using telephony products,” explains Kashyap. “There is no dial tone menu. We say, ‘Welcome to any credit union. How can I help you today?’ Tell us in a few words. We encourage users to describe problems in a natural voice rather than waiting for them to read menu options.”

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Kashyap and McEachern became friends while pursuing degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. They also worked together in the same laboratory in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

However, their relationship grew quickly outside of MIT. In 2016, the students began consulting software, in part designing chatbots for companies to handle customer inquiries about medical devices, flight reservations, personal fitness, and more. Kashyap says he used time in consulting to learn about business risks and take them.

“It was a great learning experience because we got hands-on experience designing these bots using the tools available,” Kashyap said. “We identified a need in the market for a bot platform and a better bot experience.”

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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From the outset, the founders implemented a lean business strategy that made it clear that engineering undergraduates were thinking about the long term. After graduation, the founders used their savings from consulting to fund Posh’s initial operations, providing salaries and even hiring some contacts from MIT.

He also helped them join the Delta v Accelerator, run by the MIT Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship, offering summer guidance and free rent. Following delta v, Posh teamed up with DCU’s Fintech Innovation Center to connect with one of the largest credit unions in the US and give the company another 12 months of free rent.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

With DCU acting as a pilot client, the founders took an “immersion course” in the credit union industry, Kashyap said. From there, they launched an expansion that they calculated wouldn’t grow faster than Posh’s allowed earnings, so it wouldn’t have to raise venture capital.

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A disciplined growth strategy has forced Posh to be creative at times. Last year, as the founders sought to build new features and grow their team, they secured about $1.5 million in upfront payments from eight credit unions, along with peer-focused profit-sharing incentives, as well as discounts on their services. Using this strategy, the company raised a total of $2.5 million.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

Even calling chatbots automated messaging platforms today seems generous. Most products on the market today are designed to understand what the user needs, known as intent recognition.

As a result, many of the virtual agents in our lives—from robotic deliverymen to Amazon’s Alexa to remote controls—follow instructions but struggle to hold conversations. The Posh chatbot goes beyond intent recognition by using what Kashyap calls contextual intelligence to find out what users are saying based on their chat history. The founders patent the method of operation.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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“[Contextual understanding] makes it more intelligent to understand user input and allow the bot to handle things like changing topics without interrupting,” Kashyap said. “To interact successfully with a bot, you have to be very unnatural at times to convey what the user wants to convey, otherwise the bot will not understand you.”

Kashyap says it’s much easier to understand the context when designing a bot for a specific industry. So the founders of Posh decided to focus on credit unions.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

“Platforms on the market today are too thin to have a deep impact in a given area,” says Kashyap. “If banks, telcos and healthcare companies all use the same [chatbot] service, it’s as if they share the same customer service representative. It is difficult for one person to have a meaningful education in all of these areas.”

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To sign up with new credit unions, Posh uses customer conversation data to train a deep learning model.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

“The bot continues to train after having a real conversation,” Kashyap said. “We’re always improving it. I don’t think we’re going to use a bot and say it’s done.”

Customers can use Posh bots through online chat, voice calls, SMS messages, and third-party channels such as Slack, WhatsApp, and Amazon Echo. Posh also offers an analytics platform to help customers analyze the content of their users’ calls.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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Now Kashyap says he’s focused on quadrupling the number of credit unions using Posh over the next year. Again, the founders have never let short-term business goals cloud their larger vision for the company.

“It has always been our view that Jarvis from ‘Iron Man’ and AI from ‘Her’ will soon be a reality,” said Kashyap. “Someone has to innovate with bots’ ability to have situational awareness and memory persistence. Overall, I think there is a lot more that needs to be applied to bots, but we felt that pushing the boundaries a bit more could allow them to succeed where other bots fail and eventually people will want to use our bots more than others.”

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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Informing, Educating And Connecting Customers

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Artificial Intelligence Chatbots

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