ENGINEERING.COM: Meet AVA, Autodesk’s First Virtual Employee

Excerpt from story by Andrew Wheeler | Engineering.com | November 30, 2017

A pilot program to create a 24/7 virtual agent that could help customers resolve issues was started a year ago at Autodesk.

According to a blog post written by Stacey Doyle, Autodesk Virtual Agent (AVA) is a “pro at answering customer’s most common questions, directing people to content and completing transactions.”

The post claims that AVA can reduce “time to resolution” from 60 hours to just a few minutes or however fast a customer can type an inquiry. Doyle also reports that AVA has increased customer satisfaction levels by 10 points.

AVA is an automated deep-learning workhorse, handling 35,000 customer questions every month!

Using natural language processing and machine learning, AVA uses digital reams of information, including forum posts, chat logs, a multitude of keywords, syntax and idioms.

Launched at Autodesk University in a partnership with Soul Machines, AVA’s digital human face is currently in its first aesthetic phase, but its eerily humanized face is just the beginning. Besides looks, AVA has a lot of personality for a self-described “non-human.”

AVA is also something of an intercorporate conglomeration, powered by IBM Watson’s cognitive platform and Soul Machines’ patented Human Computing Engine (HCE), with design information processed by Autodesk software. The Soul Machines HCE is a “virtual nervous system” that uses neural networks in combination with other biologically inspired models of the human brain.

At 1:46 of the video below, you can see a glimpse of AVA’s future form, which she will metamorphize into in the future. Based on real-time reality capture data of a young woman, Soul Machines is using Autodesk software to create what it sees as the future of customer interaction.

Designed by Oscar-winning CEO Dr. Mark Sagar, AVA will incorporate voice and video capabilities, interpreting them and presenting customers with solutions to their inquiries.

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Kirrily Denny