The sacking of a robot revealed the need for robot probation periods

Swedish bank Nordnet has decided to stop using AI assistant Amelia, from IPSoft, after unsuccessful use for customer services.

Despite not being unhappy with the technology the bank didn’t think it fitted in with their plans. This shows that like humans have a probation period robots need the same.

According to a report on  Dagens Industri, with an English version on Nordic Business insider, the online bank started using the AI assistant in 2017 to make customer onboarding faster and improve general customer satisfaction. But according to reports it failed to impress.

Nordnet’s CEO Peter Dahlgren told Dagens Industri: “We have tried it towards customers, and the response is ok but not overwhelming, so we are choosing to prioritise other things within our AI focus in the short run.”

With all the hype around AI taking peoples jobs this is a rreality check on the timing of such a revolution. AI is clearly not yet right for everyone.

IPSoft’s Amelia which was launched in 2014, has an understanding of the semantics of language and can learn to solve business process queries like a human. It can read 300 pages in 30 seconds and learn through experience by observing the interactions between human agents and customers. If Amelia can’t answer a question, it passes the query on to a human, but remains in the conversation to learn how to solve similar issues in future. It understands 20 languages, as well as context, and can apply logic and infer implications.

Amelia just wasn’t the right fit for Nordnet it seems.

But that does not mean AI is not a strategy for the bank. Dahlgren at the bank said the company wasn’t directly displeased with IPSoft, but that they are instead choosing to focus their efforts in other areas going forward.

This includes the prediction of customer behaviour and preferences through AI, such as on a Netflix-inspired service that could offer customers stocks to buy based on their previous purchases.

SEB also in Sweden was the first bank to use Amelia technology for customer services after the software robot proved successful in an internal IT service desk project. The bank tried it out on its IT service desk before putting it in front of customers.

I recently attended an IPSoft customer event and I must admit it is difficult not to be wowed by what Amelia can do. But CIOs need to test it out before committing to it because like any human employee it might not fit in.

Read my report from the IPSoft event here.

Read more about artificial intelligence:

An open letter signed by more than 12,000 technology experts calls for a ban on artificial intelligence (AI) to manage weapons “beyond meaningful human control”.

Artificial intelligence in the enterprise isn’t some far-off science-fiction film fantasy. It’s already here, and it’s time for CIOs to judge its business applications.

Socially aware general-purpose artificial intelligence in the form of a dog could be the ideal form factor to take over the world.

Greater automation means the boundaries are moving and more jobs could be taken over by a computer.

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