Closer links needed for AI adoption

July 23, 2018 | 10:05 am GMT+7

The development of artificial intelligence needs closer links between the Government, universities and businesses, a workshop heard in HCM City on Saturday.




A chatbot replies to customers’ inquiries. — VNS Photo


Dr Lê Thành Sách, an AI expert from the HCM City University of Technology, speaking at the workshop, on AI-powered start-ups hosted by the Saigon Hi-Tech Park, said AI is now used in several areas in Việt Nam such as traffic regulation and healthcare.
He said his project called Vision-based Vehicle Count and Traffic Flows Estimation could not been carried out without support from the Department of Transport, which enabled him to install cameras on streets to collect data.
He could not have afforded the equipment and tools required to conduct the research without sponsorship from telecom giant VNPT, he said.
But deep-pocketed VNPT cannot carry out sophisticated research on its own since it lacks the expertise, he said.
Thus partnerships between the three stakeholders are crucial to further develop AI-based technologies and enhance their application in Việt Nam, he said.
Trương Công Hải, co-founder of MIDEAS, a company which offers a platform for businesses to create their own AI chatbots for websites and Facebook fanpages, said small and medium-sized companies in Việt Nam can use AI to collect and analyse data to improve their business performance.
“Data collected from advertisements and promotion campaigns can be very valuable if we can use it efficiently.”
He said it is not right to think only big companies can get big data. For instance, medium-sized spas are willing to spend hundreds of millions to a billion đồng a month for online advertising, and the data collected can be used by them to understand their business and customers better, he added.
He said one commonly used AI application in sales and customer services now is the chatbot.
Simply put, it is a robot that can handle customers’ inquiries just like a customer service or call centre employee.
He said right now the Hana chatbot developed by his company can handle 60 per cent of customers’ inquiries.
His company still faces some challenges like customers using too many abbreviations or slang words when communicating with the bot, which makes it difficult for it to understand, he said.
Using AI still needs the presence of humans, he said.
Businesses should not hope to use AI to replace humans but instead think of it as an effective tool to support their operations.