PRESS: ANZ’s artificial intelligence entity Jamie took 12,000 customer inquiries in its first 100 days

Article by John Antony as featured on Stuff | November 18, 2018

ANZ is increasing the workload for its artificial intelligence technology but promises the customer service tool won’t put front line bankers out of work. Launched in July, ANZ New Zealand’s “digital assistant”, called Jamie, was initially programmed to answer questions on the 30 most frequently searched topics on the bank’s website.

In its first 100 days Jamie had more than 12,000 conversations with people visiting the site, with the most common question being how to open a bank account, which Jamie was asked nearly 1200 times.

 Jamie has been programmed to say it likes watching cat videos in its spare time Jamie has been programmed to say it likes watching cat videos in its spare time

ANZ is planning to increase its ability to answer questions on more topics and include some Te Reo Māori in its vocabulary. At this stage the queries Jamie helps with are of a general nature only. It does not ask for any personal information, or customer number.

But ANZ head of digital and transformation Liz Maguire said it would be just “a couple of years” before Jamie was carrying out personal banking tasks.

“When you’re driving in the car you might go: ‘Hey, Jamie, I really need to pay the babysitter $50.’ And Jamie does that for you,” Maguire said.

ANZ staff were positive about the roll-out of artificial intelligence and their jobs were not at risk, she said.

 ANZ Head of digital and transformation Liz Maguire says artificial intelligence will eventually be carrying out banking tasks for customers ANZ Head of digital and transformation Liz Maguire says artificial intelligence will eventually be carrying out banking tasks for customers

“There is no intention to use Jamie to replace our front line bankers.” Maguire said it was unlikely Jamie would be used in any of its branches.

“I think that would be a bit weird. We know there are very clear times when customers wish to speak to bankers about things that are quite important parts of their financial lives.”

 There are a few “Easter eggs” hidden within ANZ’s artificial intelligence, head of digital and transformation Liz Maguire says. There are a few “Easter eggs” hidden within ANZ’s artificial intelligence, head of digital and transformation Liz Maguire says.

Jamie, who was developed with technology company Soul Machines™, could interact through devices via a webcam and microphone or by typing.

The entity had been asked about its favourite movie 241 times, whether it likes turtles, what’s in its fridge, what sort of tea it likes and who its favourite New Zealand geologist is.

So far it has been able to answer about 60 per cent of customer queries.

“For the next part of the pilot, we’ll be making her more knowledgeable so she can answer even more questions – about banking and other things,” Maguire said.

ANZ was working on developing Jamie to be able to talk about exchange rates and interest rates in real time, she said.

Jamie was constantly learning and being regularly updated with new information based on customer questions and feedback.

Its te reo Māori vocabulary would include phrases such as tēnā koe (hello), ka rawe (excellent), and mā te wā (time).

Other languages may be added in future.

“At the moment, she’s very much a work in progress though. But like all of us, she’s learning and she’s getting better with time,” Maguire said.

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PRESS: Jamie has been so successful in her first 100 days, ANZ is extending her pilot

ANZ Media Release | November 18, 2018

From term deposits to turtles – Jamie’s first 100 days of your questions

ANZ New Zealand’s digital assistant Jamie has been so successful in her first 100 days that the bank is going to extend her pilot, increase her abilities and include the use of common Te Reo Māori words in her vocabulary.

Jamie has already had more than 12,000 conversations with existing and potential customers. The most common question has been how to open a bank account, which Jamie has been asked nearly 1200 times.

Jamie, who was developed with world-leading tech company Soul Machines™, was initially programmed to answer questions on the 30 most frequently searched-for topics on anz.co.nz.

She has also been asked about her favourite movie 241 times, whether she likes turtles, what’s in her fridge, what sort of tea she likes and who her favourite New Zealand geologist is.

“Given the range of questions people have asked, Jamie has done brilliantly in her first 100 days,” says Liz Maguire, Head of Digital & Transformation at ANZ.

“So far she’s been able to answer about 60% of customer queries, which isn’t bad for a digital assistant in her first job. For the next part of the pilot, we’ll be making her more knowledgeable so she can answer even more questions – about banking and other things.

“What I’ve really enjoyed is the amazing response that she’s got from our staff, who are really excited about the technology and the new way customers can get help with some of these simple enquiries.”

Jamie is being regularly updated with new information based on customer questions and feedback. As well as including some Te Reo in her vocabularly, there is the possibility that one day she will be able to add other languages or be joined by digital assistants of other ethnicities.

“It’s fantastic to see ANZ making an ongoing commitment to Jamie to ensure their customers are some of the first in the world to benefit from a digital assistant,” says Greg Cross, Chief Business Officer at Soul Machines™.

“ANZ’s customers have already embraced Jamie and enjoyed engaging in a really accessible way, anytime – and there’s a lot more to come in the future.”

“The potential roles for Jamie are really exciting,” agrees Ms Maguire. “I’d like to see her in our mobile banking app, goMoney, to help our customers do their banking, and for her to assist people with language or accessibility issues.

“At the moment, she’s very much a work in progress though. But like all of us, she’s learning and she’s getting better with time!”

 

 


Background information on Jamie

• ANZ partnered with New Zealand tech company, Soul Machines™, to develop Jamie. Soul Machines™ has made a name globally for humanizing artificial intelligence.

• Jamie has a digital human face and persona, and is ‘brought to life’ using Soul Machines™’ world leading Human Computing Engine™ (HCE). The Soul Machines™ HCE is a Virtual Nervous System™ that combines neural networks and biologically inspired models of the human brain which allow her to express personality and character in an incredibly human like way.

• At the moment, the queries Jamie can help with are of a general nature only. She will not ask you to share any personal information, not even your customer number.

• To talk to Jamie, you need to have a camera and microphone on your computer, tablet or phone along with a compatible browser.

• For the best conversation with Jamie we recommend using a device with a larger screen such as a desktop PC, laptop or larger tablet, we also recommend using the latest version of these browsers:

– Google Chrome v28 (or later)

– Safari v11 (or later)

– Microsoft Edge v12 (or later)

– Mozilla Firefox v22 (or later)