Bringing Anzac Heroes to Life with AI Chatbots on Facebook

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Curious to know what an Australian soldier fighting in WWI had for brekkie? Now you can ask him yourself, along with anything else that comes to mind. The Wizeline bots team has partnered News Corp Australia to launch the AnzacLive chatbot, an innovative way to share history with a modern audience. The chatbot was created to commemorate Anzac Day, which recognizes the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. in WWI -- namely the historic battles of Fromelles and Pozieres in July 1916. How did our bots team create a cross-century AMA? Journals from one of the soldiers, Archie Barwick, have been powered by technology.


Machine learning will scale personalised customer interactions: Flamingo

ZDNet

Following a successful listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on November 17 with a market capitalisation of AU$23 million, conversational commerce company Flamingo is now looking at Australia as a key market, with online lending marketplace DirectMoney being announced as its first local client. Born in Australia and based in the US, Flamingo is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that provides an "intelligent guided selling platform" to help financial services firms address the problem of low online sales conversion rates. Currently, the average online quote-to-sales conversion rate in the US insurance industry sits between 1 and 3 percent, compared to 20 to 60 percent conversion in call centres. "The reason for this is that buying products online such as financial services is enormously complicated and customers have a large tendency to abandon doing things online and eventually will go to a call centre or to a broker," Flamingo founder and CEO Dr Catriona Wallace said at a media and investor meeting last Wednesday. "One of our large US clients report that within the first 90 days that a new customer comes on board, 80 percent of those customers will call the call centre four to five times because they don't understand what they've bought.


Queensland government to inject AU 1m into drone technology

ZDNet

The Queensland government has announced a AU 1 million investment in remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) technology, expected to benefit the LNG, agriculture, mining, energy, telecommunications, search and rescue, and environmental management industries. In addition to the cash injection, the state government has partnered with aerospace giant The Boeing Company, in conjunction with Boeing subsidiary Insitu Pacific, Shell's QGC project, and Telstra to further the drone research. Local small to medium-sized businesses specialising in related technology such as aerial photography, surveying, product development, and training for drone operators will also be consulted as part of the venture. "The project aims to capitalise on the capabilities inherent in drones to carry out remote-monitoring and inspection of key infrastructure and data analysis to allow for better decision-making," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement. In addition to creating 500 new jobs, Palaszczuk said she expects the technologies to be developed will include an improved airspace situational awareness prototype system that will enable the safe operation of RPAs over a broad area, as well as tools for enhanced data analytics.


Queensland government deploying digital meters to reduce spread of banana disease

ZDNet

The Queensland government has announced it is deploying Ergon Energy internet-connected meters in the state's northern region as a "significant" step towards helping local farmers minimise the spread of Panama disease, a fungus that affects the tissues of the banana plant. Up to 600 meters will be installed in the Tully and Innisfail areas, where a majority of Australia's bananas are produced. Due to Panama TR4 biosecurity concerns and strict quarantine measures, Ergon -- a subsidiary of government-owned power company Energy Queensland Limited -- made the decision to stop all entry of their contract meter readers onto farms and install digital meters that could be read remotely, Energy Minister Mark Bailey has said. "Digital meters will avoid the need for meter readers to enter properties and therefore prevent the spread of the disease," the minister said in a statement. There will be no cost to banana farmers for switching to digital meters; however, all affected farmers will be required to accommodate the switchover in the upcoming months.