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MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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For Kami, it's all about conversations in AI-driven customer service

Here’s why this AI driven customer service platform is better than chatbots.

When banking and financial firms look to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) in customer service, often in pursuit of lower costs and faster responses, there is often an uncomfortable pause when the question is raised: “Can robots really do this job as well as, if not better, than humans?”

Kami.ai CEO Alex Cheung says that the problem with existing chatbot platforms is that they rarely solve the problems of companies since their AI has not been designed to adapt to individual preferences among users either through nonexistent or poorly prioritised data tracking.

This is where Kami.ai has stepped in. Through its patented AI technologies, the startup has created a conversational platform that puts emphasis on machine reasoning. Firms that use the platform can then automate customer service with highly engaging messages and form better-informed decisions through insights generated from ongoing customer interactions.

“Kami aims to transform chats into intelligent conversations and into critical insights,” says Alex Cheung, CEO of Kami.ai. “In short, it is AI that we can trust.”

This June, Kami won the “Best Startup” award in the ARM Demo Day in Shanghai and was also one of 15 finalists in the Bosch Venture Forum in Germany participated by 130 startups worldwide.

Kami has also attracted the interest of notable investors, which now include the chief marketing officer of Hanson Robotics, an ex-marketing director from Apple, and a venture capital firm with 50 listed companies.

From London to Dubai, Kami has been the toast of awards bodies and investors that are looking for the next big startup. But before all this clamor, Cheung had to go through a major letdown before he could come up with Kami’s winning approach to AI-driven customer service platforms.

“I used to have an idea of building a summarisation service for financial analysis. I partnered with friends to prototype it, sadly it was a failure,” says Cheung.

“The key takeaway for that failure is without understanding each individual, we cannot give them the most relevant suggestions to meet their needs. And the best way to understand humans is through conversation and interaction,” he adds.

From chatbot to conversational platform

“Most of the existing chatbot platforms fail in tracking the context or remembering the important information from user conversation which makes them fail in giving highly relevant suggestions to the customers,” says Cheung. “And when it comes to service-oriented businesses, relevancy is the key to success.”

Kami is leapfrogging other chatbot platforms by presenting what the company calls as a conversational platform, which is powered by a dynamic memory network architecture that basically digests conversations and learns from them faster.

Through this conversational platform, users of Kami then reap three key competitive advantages: Banking and financial firms can remember customers better, know customers better, and obtain visualised intelligence that lets them act with more accurate customer information.

“We believe pure algorithms and data won’t bring AI anywhere. The success of an AI company largely relies on how easy the technology can be applied,” says Cheung about Kami’s future.
The startup is in the process of building a standardised developer toolkit to allow people to build their virtual assistants, as well as forming partnerships with solution providers and consulting firms to resell the platform to their clients.

“At the end, we want to make intelligence accessible and manageable. That’s why we will open the platform for public subscription. People can eventually live smarter and better lives with all these informed insights.”

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