Wednesday, January 24, 2024

SuperFocus, AI, and Philippine Call Centers: Part 2

This is the sequel to the earlier conversation with Dominic Ligot, an AI expert who works with the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), the trade association for call center and outsourcing companies. 

In this video we briefly demonstrate some of the voice capabilities of the SuperFocus AI. Progress in generative AI is faster than anything I've ever seen before - perhaps not surprising given the vast financial, technological, and human capital resources flowing to AI R&D. When we first looked at voice capabilities ~6 months ago they didn't seem ready for complex conversations like the ones discussed in the video. But when we looked again - prompted by strong interest from our customers - we found that the state of the art had advanced significantly in just a short time. This is true across many areas of generative AI.

I was in Manila in December to meet with BPO companies. Roughly 8% of Philippine GDP ($40B each year) results from BPO / call center work. This is a consequence of low labor costs and widespread English fluency.

We demonstrated narrow AIs built using LLMs, but in which the LLM is forced to "consult its internal memory" before answering any query. This memory can be built from training materials used to train human agents in call centers. The AI functions like a human that has perfect recall of all the material in the training manuals, at a fraction of the cost!

An analogy we used is that the AI earthquake in SF has created a Tsunami headed towards the Philippines -- is it a 6 foot wave, or a 600 ft wave? Closer to the latter, I think.

Some photos from Manila - scoping out potential office space.


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