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FaceMe designs 'digital human' for Southern Cross Health Society
Mon, 15th Apr 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Southern Cross Health Society is the latest New Zealand organisation to adopt FaceMe's lifelike digital humans, but that human is yet to have a name or an identity.

Digital humans, also known as digital assistants, are interactive avatars trained to communicate with people in a way that is empathetic and personalised.

FaceMe's digital humans are equipped with machine learning, meaning they can continuously learn from conversations over time to better understand a person's needs.

In what is being hailed as a ‘world first' for a health insurer, Southern Cross will launch its AI-powered digital assistant later this year.

The assistant will be able to answer New Zealanders' questions and offer new ways to learn about health insurance, as well as what it offers.

“As the country's largest health insurer, we have a responsibility to lead the market in providing Kiwis with innovative tools they can use to understand and make improvements to their health and wellbeing,” explains Southern Cross Health Society chief Nick Astwick.

He adds that the human touch is still important in healthcare. The digital human will support the human touch, not replace it.

“A digital human can answer questions often asked about health insurance, such as how the New Zealand health system works, what health insurance can cover you for and education around pre-existing conditions. People can feel embarrassed asking basic questions, but the digital human is always patient and doesn't judge.

The digital human will support the Friendly Society's goal of empowering Kiwis to take more control of their health by creating an engaging and 24/7 digital experience.

FaceMe will design the chatbot for Southern Cross. Already, FaceMe has whipped up a storm in the AI chatbot space thanks to its humanlike assistants designed for the likes of Vodafone, BMW New Zealand, and ASB Bank.

FaceMe chief executive officer Danny Tomsett says its AI assistants combine computer vision, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – all with human-like qualities.

“No-one wants to talk to a lifeless robot that is incapable of showing empathy for you as an individual or understanding your needs beyond keywords,” says Tomsett.

“Using the power of the human face, Southern Cross' digital human will have credible, real-time conversations with Kiwis based on tailored content and a memorable persona that can build emotional connections.

Astwick adds that Southern Cross will deploy AI assistants into other areas such as product advice based on what the company knows about its customer.

Southern Cross Health Society's digital human will be available on desktops, tablets, and mobile phones later this year.