A Peek into the World of Artificial Intelligence Software Developent with Sinuhe Arroyo, Founder and CEO of Taiger, a Leading Artificial Developer in Singapore.
In line with Singapore’s Smart Nation plan, Taiger is pioneering the development of artificial intelligence software that will power the virtual workforce of our future. Sitting down for a chat over coffee, Sinuhe Arroyo shared his experiences with us about working at the forefront of technological development, as well as some insights into what the new technology does and what he hopes it will achieve.
“Taiger” – a name derived from the merging of “Tiger” with the acronym AI, aptly describes the forceful and bold way in which the company pursues its development of artificial intelligence software.
Sinuhe Arroyo is the founder and CEO of the company. Holding both a PhD in computer science specializing in computational semantic technology (University of Innsbruck, Austria) and an MBA (University of Chicago), Sinuhe Arroyo understands the importance of the role that artificial intelligence will play in the near future.
Under his guidance (and research), Taiger has developed a line of artificial intelligence systems that target how customers and companies alike can access and extract even the most unstructured of information; iConverse, iSearch and iMatch. Utilizing complex AI algorithms (semantic search), these tools are the pioneers of a fully virtual workforce – a development that’s in line with Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative.
Saying that we were impressed with Dr Arroyo’s resume would be a real understatement. But despite obviously being overwhelmed in his presence, his gentle and friendly demeanour quickly put us at ease as he shared his work and personal views with us over a cup of coffee.
iConverse: A Model of The Virtual Customer Service Workforce of the Future.
Imagine this scenario: It’s a Friday and you’re working late, as usual. When you finally make it home in time for dinner, you sit down to that much needed meal and flick the remote switch – only to have that brand new TV sitting in the living room flicker a few times before going dead silent.
You call the customer service hotline but what you hear on the other side destroys any glimmer of hope you have to save the Friday night: “We’re sorry, but our customer service attendants are currently not available. Please try again later”. Looks like customer service has gone home for dinner, too – they are human, after all. Regardless, that doesn’t help you’re missing out on your Friday dinner night and watching Doctor Who with the family.
The situation above is one of the main reasons driving the creation of artificial intelligence systems such as iConverse. Capable of answering customer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week and from anywhere where mobile access is available, the new technology will dramatically change the way customer service works. For a company, being able to attend to customers whenever needed is a big advantage.
Smart AIs that Understand What Customers Want to Know.
Unlike Apple’s Siri and popular chatbot, Evie, which are based on machine-learning algorithms, iConverse is an intelligent AI that combines machine learning algorithms with semantic technology to truly harness the power of artificial intelligence. Fusing the symbolic disciplines of AI such as knowledge representation, reasoning and natural language processing (NLP), semantic AIs interpret what humans communicate to them and make sense of them, just as a fellow human would do, and respond appropriately. This process lets the system form more informed and precise answers to queries. Sorry, data scientists, but this semantic technology means the huge amount of data you’re used to is not needed.
This might seem like science-fiction, but the reality is more grounded and closer than you think. A combination of approaches allows Taiger to harvest the best of the different disciplines of AI.
A Tech Pioneer’s Story of Learning and Working Together.
As we sat down and started our recorders, we asked Dr Arroyo if there was anyone that was especially influential in his life. Setting down his cup, he smiled and told us that he owed that to too many people and that it would be unfair to name just one. Throughout the years, his many mentors have not only helped him overcome new challenges, but had also given him perspective in both his professional career and personal life.
And this number will only increase in future. As an individual grows he/she will always be faced with new challenges – each of which will require different teachers with different expertise to teach him/her as life is a learning process – a problem solving process. The same principle applies as much to a company as to the individual. Dr Arroyo added that if he were to go back eight years and started over with what he knew now, the experience would be very different – one that’s probably not as fun and exciting.
“[There were] many people along the way – this isn’t just about me. It’s the people working in the company; the people who have influenced me, the people I learn things from. They all help me in different ways – not only professionally but personally. Everything is connected and there are many positive people [within the company] that I’m thankful for.”
Because it is the Human Condition to Want Happiness and Fulfilment.
This beautiful cycle of learning and cooperation is the reason why it is necessary to give ownership of the company to the people working there as it ingrains a stronger sense of belonging. And although everyone should work hard, they always maintain a friendly environment. There is no hierarchy to make anyone feel uncomfortable. They should be there to enjoy the ride, because it’s all pointless if you don’t enjoy what you doing.
Finally, when asked what kind of a mark he’d like to leave in the world, he told us that he’d like to have done something that leaves a positive effect in the world we live:
“Something that has a positive feedback on people, on the world, on companies. Since the moment you decide to start up a company you’re creating jobs – high-quality jobs that require a double degrees in computer science [for example] – so these are people who have top grades, right? They’re top off the class and they could easily pursue careers as lawyers – but they decide to come work for us.”
Yes, that certainly sounds like a beautiful dream.