Taiwanese artificial intelligence startup D8AI is using its core technological strength to design chatbots, which are programs that simulate human conversation with text and voice input.
“The idea is to create AI-powered applications that will help our clients improve customer service,” company CEO and Chairman Hui Hsiung told a conference in Taipei last month. “The applications will be able to provide customers with efficient, personalized responses in the digital world.”
Hsiung spoke at Future Commerce 2018, a three-day annual event organized by Business Next/Manager Today. The 2018 event took place April 26-28 in Taipei and featured 20 speakers.
Hsiung, 65, a former AU Optronics Corp. executive vice president who served a three-year prison term in the United States over an LCD price fixing case in 2012, spoke to a crowd of Taiwanese company executives, founders, investors and other industry specialists.
The company will train its chatbots for business clients in specific fields, Hsiung said. It is working now on algorithms to let chatbots assist office managers, product managers and administrative staffs. D8AI will develop automated text-based virtual assistants, for example, to schedule meetings and travel.
Hsiung gave few details in his speech about the role of artificial intelligence, saying that process is still being developed.
Founders both studied at the University of California, Berkeley
Hsiung founded D8AI in April 2017 with Richard Sheng, a University of California, Berkeley-educated computer scientist.
“We wanted to explore the realm of AI applications,” Hsiung said. “We didn’t want to miss our opportunity to ride the AI wave.”
Hsiung received a Ph.D. degree in physics from the same university. His was executive vice president of AU Optronics Corp. and a former CEO of Qisda Corp., both publicly traded high tech hardware companies in Taiwan.
According to D8AI’s website, the company name derives from a longer term, Dimension-8 Artificial Intelligence. It set out to make customized software or software-hardware combinations for enterprises and other institutions work with their customers or employees.
Pairing artificial intelligence, or AI, with startups will require more talent to come on board, Hsiung said.
“I believe that Taiwan has AI talents,” Hsiung said. “We have cultivated many top engineering talents over the years. But many of them have joined big companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage our Taiwanese young people to challenge yourself and try getting into AI,” he said.
AI-powered chatbots now help e-commerce retailers and product managers. Today some of them greet customers in online stores, clarify customer needs and react to customer responses.
In e-commerce now, chatbots sometimes serve as a final stroke of communication after an ecommerce transaction, according to this industry online magazine report.
Chatbots can eventually help businesses automate sales and customer support services, in turn cutting labor costs, Hsiung said.