Singapore tech firm develops Taglish-speaking AI bots 

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The human-like artificial intelligence bots are here. And they can even speak Taglish like a Pinoy.

The AI bogeyman that has been a major cause for sleepless nights for many in the Philippines’ Information Technology-Business Process Management industry has apparently come to life with the first of Taglish-speaking, human-like AI bots already deployed and making calls to unsuspecting Filipino customers.

A Singaporean tech company has already developed an AI bot that can provide impressive customer engagement services to Philippine companies as it can speak conversational Taglish to Filipino customers.

Kenny Tay of Talkbot International Pte, Ltd. – one of the speakers in the Sustainable Green Tech Forum at the Manila Hotel spearheaded by DB International on March 21 – said that the Taglish-speaking AI bot, already adopted by a local insurance company, has already proven its human-like feature.

Tay said that the AI bot can be customized to speak American English, English for others, Bahasa Indonesia, Tagalog and English or “Taglish”, Bahasa Malay, Mandarin, Thai, Vietnamese and even Spanish. Soon to be launched is a Portuguese-speaking version.

“So the bot is being trained to communicate in a specific language, Philippines (Filipino) in this case,” Tay explained after playing a recorded live call between a Taglish-speaking bot with a Filipino customer. “About 95 percent and above of the people do not know it is a bot.”

Talking about the small percentage of those who identified the bot as non-human, Tay said some of them thought that it sounded “too perfect.”

“All these can be automated with a very good customer journey, experience,” he added.

Tay said that the Talkbot AI bot technology can be deployed across borders in the ASEAN region, meaning any company in the ASEAN can customize the AI bot to use it to set up operations in another country in the region.

Tay said that the Talkbot AI bot already has a long list of satisfied clients in ASEAN, including some of the region’s blue chip companies. Globally, Talkbot has more than 260 clients in the banking sector (DBS, UOB, SCB, CIMB NIAGA, UnionBank, Bank BRI, Bank BTN and SB Finance), fintech (SeaMoney, Astra Financial, Aladin and Toyota Financial Services), insurance (Manulife, TokioMarine Insurance Group, AIA, Prudential and Jagadiri), e-commerce (Shopee, Lazada and Didi), telecommunications and healthcare.

William Guido, chairman and CEO of DB International that organized the forum, said that the AI bot technology of Talkbot has many real-world applications, including in sustainability initiatives such as in monitoring carbon emissions.

“Sustainability, while not a new agenda, has for a long time been treated as a box-checking exercise. Even as there is active interest among many companies worldwide towards sustainability and environmental, social and governance initiatives, many are still at the stage of gaining a deeper understanding of what it entails, its implications on business growth and considering strategies on how to facilitate a mindset change within their organizations,” he said.

“As Asian countries move towards meeting their ambitious COP26 targets, improving the energy efficiency of buildings is especially important  as buildings and construction projects were identified to be significant contributors of total carbon emissions,” added Guido.

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