FPT CTO: “Monthly usage count of AI products has reached 5 million”

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According to Mr. Le Hong Viet, FPT researched and developed AI products in order to provide “new capabilities” for businesses as well as customers.

Having been early in the AI field, FPT is currently considered one of the largest research and application “lair” of AI products in Vietnam. Through the past 6 years, FPT had invested in AI in two sectors: AI applications in the group’s products and projects; and developing a comprehensive AI platform FPT.AI to help businesses and organizations reduce operation time by utilizing AI in their procedures and products.

According to Mr. Le Hong Viet, FPT is willing to share its research achievements for the growth of the Vietnamese AI Comunnity.

Mr. Le Hong Viet, FPT CTO.

What are you judgements regarding Vietnam’s AI application and research?

According a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, AI in in Vietnam is only focusing on high-technology and technology applications in media, finance, healthcare, retail, while other potential sectors like transportation and logistics, agriculture, travelling, education still lack effort.

– What are FPT’s orientation in developing artificial intelligence?

FPT has decided to adopt digital transformation as its strategic path with AI being the core technology. Our aim is to have machines take over work for humans, providing businesses and organizations with new resources.  As AI holds great potential for development, FPT sees it as a great opportunity. We plan to pioneer in AI, and this had started 6 years ago with our vast AI research and development – much earlier than most domestic businesses.

Aside from utilizing AI in products and solutions, we aim to build a competitive AI service platform. Through it, we hope to become a recognized brand in the global AI community.

– What benefits will AI application bring to businesses?

At the moment, we are focusing on interactive automation and improving customer experience.

With automation, our products can easily perform simple human tasks and behavior. This will reduce human workload spent on tedious, repetitive tasks, which leads to increased productivity.

FPT tech experts also hopes to bring a brand new customer experience in our services. Take shopping on Sendo for example: it works 24/24, with users being able to perform all necessary tasks (from finding the products to completing payments) in less than half a minute. The system’s computer is able to interactive with millions of customers per day, process millions of questions in seconds – these are evident notable benefits of AI applications.

– Can you let us know in detail how FPT’s products utilize AI?

FPT utilizes AI throughout various fields, but our 4 most major ones include: language processing, computer vision, voice synthesizing and identification, and digitalized knowledge base.

First is natural language processing, or getting machines to understand human. In this, FPT has built infrastructures for users to easily create chatbots and apply AI in customer care procedures.

Second is computer vision, where machines are able to observe. In particular, they can identify and extract information from images, classify objects, compare pictures and actual people. In some banking procedures like transacting, opening new accounts, or registering new services, for examples, machines will be able to extract data from images of ID cards and automatically fill these information to proper forms with an up to 95% accuracy, even if the images are blurry or noised. This technology will speed up data input 60 times, while still maintaining high accuracy.

Third is voice synthesizing and identification, which is also the first AI field that FPT invested in, and is the field with most popular products. Its applications in marketing, for example, are notable. Particularly, in contrast to having real human record for marketing videos, machines will do the reading. This leads to producers, or in this case, marketers, being able to save time and costs for making short videos in large quantities.

Another popular product of this field is the automatic call center. Traditionally, customers will have to wait a long time, or have to push complicated button patterns before being connected to call agents. With FPT’s automatic call center, however, the system shall immediately responds and records the customers’ queries, and shall be able to provide quick answers. At the moment, our aim is to answer 60-70% simple questions without call agents.

Finally, FPT has built a vast database for retail, stock market, banking… and develop AI-integrated products like a multi-language IT translation system (now supporting Vietnamese and Japanese). In education, FPT introduces VioEdu – the smart online learning platform in Vietnam, what utilizes AI to predict students’ abilities, strengths and weaknesses, from which personalizes learning experiences for students.

– How do the experts and customers respond to those products?

FPT’s AI activities have improved significantly in 2019. Monthly user count of FPT.AI’s products is around 5 millions, with the most popular ones being those for customer care and business operation automation. Businesses’ usage of FPT’s AI products, meanwhile, focuses mostly in finance, telecommunications, and customer care.

Experts also regard FPT.AI as one of the leading AI platform in Vietnam application-wise. It also receives positive feedbacks from customers regarding accuracy, service capability, and customer support and counselling. Furthermore, accuracy of FPT’s AI products has surpassed 90%, with constant improvements in quality, thus satisfying the demand for AI deployment of any business, in any field. With these products, the necessary time for AI applications in business products and operations has also been reduced by 50%.

– As the pioneering business in AI application R&D in Vietnam, what has FPT contributed to the Vietnamese AI community?

FPT’s role is apparent in specialized events about AI. Since 2017, we have been hosting numerous AI events for community, including AI Hackathon, Techday – from which we started a wave of AI research.

FPT also shares its database to research communities, processes data for specific projects, outsources data sets for emulating real situations – all open for access of businesses, researchers, and students for algorithm training and in developing AI products.

For students, FPT hosts the Digital Race – a self-driving care programming competition where students have to develop suitable AI algorithms to integrate in self-driving cars, as well as equipping them with the ability to identify and dodge obstacles along the racing track. The event has recently attracted 800 students from 32 leading universities of Vietnam and 2 international schools. The champion of this year, from the Institute of Military Technology, had won a trip to America for visiting and learning.

What are the largest challenges that you have faced in AI deployment in Vietnam?

The first challenge lies in people’s mindset regarding AI. When you mention AI, people generally think of them replacing humans, leading to redundancies, and thus is reluctant about it. That is not close to the truth at all, however. At the moment, most large enterprises only use AI as a supporting tool for human, equipping them with more power to overcome obstacles, or doing the tasks they are unable to do. Many businesses, however, do not recognize this true value of AI.

AI deployment in Vietnam is currently facing a lot of difficulties due to the lack of competent experts. Globally, there are around 22,000 AI scientists, most based in America and China. And the small remaining quantity cannot meet the demand of other countries, including Vietnam. In order to become and AI experts, they have to learn and work for a long time, often acquiring at least a master in the field. It is FPT’s great honor to be able to recruit our quality expert workforce that have graduated from leading institutes like Cambridge University, Paris 6 Computer Science, Japan Research Institute… but the demand is far from being met.

Source: VnExpress

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