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  • By: LazBeat Staff
  • Mar 16, 2021

Training for the Future: An AI Expert on Human and Tech Innovation

Part of Felix Yuwono’s job is to train up Lazada’s customer care team. Only, who – or rather, what – he trains isn’t your typical service representative but are the eCommerce platform’s artificial intelligence chatbots.

As one of the largest eCommerce platforms in Southeast Asia, Lazada has developed two AI-powered chatbots; the Lazada Customer Engagement Officer – CLEO for short – was created to cater to consumers’ needs, while another tool called ADA offers help to sellers on the platform. Not only are these chatbots available 24/7, they’ve been “taught” by Lazada’s dedicated AI training team on how to address questions and requests in real-time with a high degree of precision while still retaining the warmth of human interactions.

If a shopper wants to know about delivery options, for example, they can simply ask CLEO, which will be able to instantly share a full list of shipping options and rates. Or if sellers are unsure of how to maximise their sales, ADA is on hand to provide guidance on everything from logistics support to available campaign tools.

Despite the sophistication of these chatbots, Yuwono, the head of AI at Lazada Indonesia, emphasizes that they are designed not to replace but rather promote human capabilities.

“Sure, the chatbot can answer questions, but when it comes to complex problem solving with creativity and analytical thinking, that’s when the AI trainer plays a key role,” he said, adding that AI trainers shape the characters of artificial intelligence and help them understand different consumer questions as well as various styles of language, from regional dialects to colloquial slang.

While AI trainers are a relatively new profession, demand for them has grown in recent years as industries across the globe have accelerated their digitalization. In fact, according to a recent World Economic Forum report, it is estimated that machines and algorithms will create 97 million new jobs by 2025.

These jobs will play a particularly critical role in eCommerce – currently one of the fastest-growing industries in the global market – with AI trainers already key to creating comfortable, safe and engaging shopping experiences.

“At Lazada, the AI trainer profession is truly an important part of our operations,” Lazada Indonesia CEO Ferry Kusnowo said. Thanks to these trainers, the eCommerce platform boasts a Chatbot Resolve Rate – the measure for the company’s AI-fuelled problem-solving – that’s higher than the industry average, Kusnowo explained.

The job of AI training, of course, is no easy feat, involving constant refinement and updates to algorithms. Because of this, AI trainers must not only be sophisticated in creating computer programmes but must also have the analytical skills and creativity to solve complex problems as they arise. They need to be able to fully understand the questions and pain points of users, check the data, come up with and implement solutions and also monitor the impact that those solutions have. And of top of all that, they must also keep up with the latest trends and recognize changes in communication conventions so that AI programmes can maintain the level of human-like conversation abilities that users have come to expect.

While the job may be demanding, Yuwono, who was named Global Champion for the Best Use of Self-Service Technology and Best Technology Innovation at the 2019 Contact Center World Awards, says that it’s precisely these challenges that make AI training such a rewarding vocation, especially at a time when digitalization is becoming increasingly essential.

“Being an AI trainer pushes me to always build, measure and learn,” he said. “As our technology continues to evolve and advance, it’s important that we as humans also keep up with the latest in digital innovations.”

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