Artificial unintelligence from CBA

August 12, 2018

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (with whom I’m mostly happy, as a customer) just released an AI chat bot to ‘help’ customers with their inquiries. I took it for a test drive today, in the hopes of being able to contact someone from the bank …

I’m a bot here to help you with your banking. I’m still learning but you can ask me things like how to activate your card or get an interest and tax summary.

Hi Ceba. I’d like to speak with a human about an ad that was displayed by the CBA app.

The humans haven’t taught me that sentence yet. Ask me again. It’s easier for me to understand short sentences. E.g. I need a bank statement.

I need to email a human

If you tell me what you’re looking for in a few words I might be able to point you there faster than a human.

I tried that but you didn’t understand

It’s early days but I’m getting smarter every day.

Again: I’d like to email a human about the CBA app

OK. Some things are better left to the humans. You can call them on 13 2221. If you’re overseas call +61 2 9999 3283. I’m here if you need help with anything else.

I don’t want to call, I want to email

I’m always learning more about banking. You can help me along by giving feedback.

I would like to email a human with a complaint

I’m always learning more about banking. You can help me along by giving feedback.

I don’t want to give feedback

OK. What’s your feedback about?

The CommBank app

Great. Your feedback helps us to improve the app.

NO

OK. Could you try telling me what you’re looking for another way?

I do not want to give feedback!

OK. What’s your feedback about?

No

OK. Could you try telling me what you’re looking for another way?

I want to email a human

OK. Some things are better left to the humans. You can call them on 13 2221. If you’re overseas call +61 2 9999 3283. I’m here if you need help with anything else.

I do not want to call them

I haven’t learnt that human phrase yet.

I want to email a human

Let’s try again. I’m better at understanding short sentences. E.g. how do I receive money from overseas?

EMAIL A HUMAN

OK. Some things are better left to the humans. You can call them on 13 2221. If you’re overseas call +61 2 9999 3283. I’m here if you need help with anything else. OK. Some things are better left to the humans. You can call them on 13 2221. If you’re overseas call +61 2 9999 3283. I’m here if you need help with anything else.

I understand that it’s early days yet for AI agents, but this experience suggests we have a long way to go before AI agents are geuninely helpful for general inquiries like these.