AI's Maharaja in tech's new avatar is happy to help

Tata Group-owned Air India’s generative artificial intelligence (AI) virtual assistant ‘Maharaja‘ using Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service, which responds to over 6,000 consumer inquiries every day, is set to get more advanced functionality.

The airline is using ChatGPT to assess questions, even some complex ones that it might not be able to respond to right away, in order to enhance customer experience in subsequent contacts and help it become more natural language sensitive, the company said in a press release on Friday.

Air India said it has successfully implemented ‘Maharaja’, making it the first airline in the world to do so. Since its experimental introduction in March 2023, the agent has satisfactorily addressed over half a million client queries, Air India said.

According to the statement, it currently handles over 6,000 queries daily in four languages: Hindi, English, French, and German.

“Of the 6,000-plus questions received each day, over 80 per cent are successfully answered in seconds. About 15 per cent of customer queries today require additional assistance, and Maharaja recognises this automatically and orchestrates a seamless handoff to Air India’s contact centre agents,” the release said.

Air India is now looking to launch a host of sophisticated features, driven by patent-pending technologies.

“This includes a novel user experience that changes the way customers interact with AI agents with a combination of textual and graphical interactions that can potentially further speed up customer interactions… Air India also plans to enhance the current AI agent with data-driven deep-personalisation capabilities,” the release said.

Satya Ramaswamy, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Air India, said that after the emergence of Large Language Model-driven generative AI capabilities, it is increasingly seeing a definitive shift in guest preferences to use chat interactions to get the information and support they need quickly.

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Harry Byrne

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