Chinese retail giant, Alibaba, has just developed a new kind of artificial intelligence (AI) that scored higher in a reading comprehension test than humans. This is exciting news for Alibaba and could be the first step towards replacing real humans in customer service roles.
The test that was used is called the Stanford Question Answering Dataset which consists of more than 100,000 question. Upon completion of the test the AI scored 82.44 whereas the humans scored just 82.304.
It’s a breakthrough in the world of AI. While previously AI has been known to beat humans in the game of chess, languages have always been a little more difficult for the machines to crack. But now, using AI, machines can answer much more accurate questions than ever before.
“We believe the underlying technology can be gradually applied to numerous applications such as customer service, museum tutorials, and online response to inquiries from patients, freeing up human efforts in an unprecedented way,” said Si Luo, a chief scientist of natural language processing (NLP) at Alibaba.
The technology has apparently been used during the November 11 Chinese shopping festival period in previous years to help in answering some of the huge volumes of inbound sales and enquiry calls the company receives at that time.
Ali Xiaomi is a mobile chatbot that retailers using Alibaba’s platforms can utilize and customize for their own business needs. However, it’s still very limited in what it can do and if the question isn’t clear-cut, the bot doesn’t know what to do. Alibaba isn’t the only company to use the Stanford test to check how efficient their chatbots are. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and IBM have all done the same.
Another AI development that’s come about recently and is on offer now from a number of different Chinese technology manufacturers are smart speakers that have the ability to identify voice commands and suggest solutions to problems.
Just a few months ago Baidu and Xiaomi announced its plans to develop smart devices that offer a unique and enhanced AI experience to its customers. Apple Inc. will also be releasing the HomePod shortly – an AI voice-controlled, at-home Siri home assistant that’s focused largely on audio quality. It’s essentially an upgrade from the Amazon Echo and has Apple fans eagerly awaiting its release.