Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Meet Sarah, Buy Car

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The Wall Street Journal’s “CIO Journal” published an article yesterday detailing Daimler Financial Services’ efforts to explore human digital assistants (Daimler was showing off its efforts this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.)

It’s a fascinating look at the way “human” digital assistants are evolving, and probably just as important, how quickly.  

Udo Neumann is the company’s global chief information officer.

Here are a few snippets detailing Daimler’s progress:

An assistant with a human-like “face,” with instant access to helpful data and programmed to detect how people are feeling and respond accordingly, could help gain customer and employee trust, Mr. Neumann said. “It’s clearly the next step in the development of an evolving technology, (where) emotions come into play.”

Daimler Financial Services, a division of Daimler AG, announced this week it’s partnering with New Zealand startup Soul Machines on a proof-of-concept project to see how a digital assistant with a face and a name could give personalized help to employees and customers.

The companies, which have worked together for several months, are developing a “digital human” built with AI software from IBM Watson that can be programmed to answer questions related to car financing, leasing and insurance, and capabilities to recognize non-verbal cues using face recognition technology.

Neural networking and machine learning tools lets an early version, named Sarah, react to spoken and typed words as well as non-verbal queues such as a loud noise or a nodding head in agreement.

Sarah can be programmed with highly specialized knowledge about, for example, the latest Mercedes models and information about leasing options, said Greg Cross, chief business officer at Soul Machines.

The digital human could eventually act as a “companion” for employees at a call center or training center, he said. For customers, talking to such an avatar might increase purchases among those who feel intimidated by high-pressure sales staff, said Mr. Cross.

So will you one day be buying your next car from a soulful digital assistant like Sarah? 

Never say never…now this baby right over here, you just can’t go wrong. She hits 0-60 in five seconds….!

Written by turbotodd

March 2, 2018 at 10:29 am

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