A Bot For Everyone
    Category: E-Conomy By : Shintya Felicitas Read : 517 Date : Friday, February 09, 2018 - 14:14:56

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    It’s widely agreed that the rise of AI will have a massive impact on job prospects, as machine can replace humans doing tasks using machine learning and AI. Diatche Harahap, 31, is one of those who is pioneering the use of AI in Indonesia, through his startup BJTech, known formally as the PT Jualan Online Indonesia. “AI will not erase jobs for humans, but it will change them to become more efficient,” he says. As such, BJTech is one of the very few companies in Indonesia that is developing local AI (one of the others being e-commerce startup Sale Stock).

    Simply put, BJTech provides chatbots for websites. Users of sites can interact with chatbots, which can understand natural language queries, and reply with natural sounding answers, all in real time. The users may not even know they are interacting with a machine, rather than a real person—the bot can answer queries, do transactions or provide other services. BJTech has so far developed two chat bots, one called “Bang Joni” that is a generic chatbot used on various sites, and one custom-built chatbot for client BNI Bank named “Cinta.” Cinta’s name is a tongue-in-cheek—officially it stands for “Chat Intelligence Assistant” but also means “love” in Indonesia.

    While chatbots have been developed and used elsewhere, what’s special about Diatche’s startup is that these chatbots can converse in fluent Indonesian, even understanding and replying in slang. Diatche first released Bang Joni, even before he had a company, at the end of 2015, and it was available at first on Telegraph and Facebook Messenger (now discontinued). Starting from October 2016 appeared in the LINE application, which currently has 90 million registered users in Indonesia—it also now on Twitter and Blackberry apps. Bang Joni’s first use was in the simple task of ordering ticket on Tiket.com, an online ticketing site.

    As the users keep growing, Diatche becomes confident that AI has big market potential in Indonesia, so he established BJtech in August 2017. “AI works similar to the human brain: the more you use it, the more you get feedback, the smarter you get. For BJtech, the stimulation is text input from users,” he explains. “A machine can be defined as artificially intelligent when it is able to fulfill user expectations, and for our bot it is carrying out transactions.” Diatche has no background in tech; he studied international business at Curtin University in Australia for his BA and diplomatic studies at the University of Westminster, UK for his MA. After graduation, he was working for an energy company when he first released Bang Joni.

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