Artificial Intelligence Applied: ‘Alex’ May Respond To Trademark Filers’ Facial Expressions 05/06/2018 by Gaensly Joseph for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A new “virtual assistant” used by the Australian Intellectual Property Office may be able in the future to read the facial expressions of trademark filers and provide them with solutions – with empathy. Virtual assistant Alex engages with a client in presentation at WIPO IP Australia described its emerging artificial intelligence tool, called “Alex”, at a recent meeting on AI and IP held at the World Intellectual Property Organization. [Note: this story has been updated to clarify that many of Alex’s features are still in development and have not yet been implemented.] A representative from IP Australia said that Alex’s mission is to provide the utmost customer care while still providing practical solutions. Alex is on its way to working so well, despite some pushback, that trademark filing time may be drastically reduced while human staff may be looking for other things to do, he said. Australia made its presentation on 25 May, during the Meeting of IPOs on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategies at WIPO. In the presentation, the representative said that Alex would be capable of speaking “face-to-face” with trademark filers and answering basic questions a filer may have with the process of filing a trademark, in the not-so-distant future. The Australian official said listening to its clients has always been the office’s mission, and that since launching and implementing Alex in 2016, it has maintained its approval rating of 86 percent. Guided by the advice of its clients, the IP office has made significant improvements to its already advanced AI virtual assistant, he said. The official said Alex’s most significant upgrade so far has been the ability to learn and adapt to human interaction and expression. For example, when Australia partnered with FaceMe, a New Zealand digital employee creator company, it gave Alex social features and gave Alex the ability deal “face-to-face” with trademark filers. Australia demonstrated that Alex’s abilities range from answering questions on trademark to having natural, empathic conversations and revolve them around IP issues. In the demonstration at WIPO, after reading a client’s facial expressions and understanding a tone a filer may have when asking a question or making a statement, Alex was able to respond with an understanding, related answer. Although not a feature now, the official said efforts are being placed to give Alex this capability. The official also said that Alex will be capable of assisting its filers to understand the legal process of creating a business, detect if there is any confusion, then respond accordingly. Another important feature, the official said, is that Alex will be capable of learning after each human interaction. The Australian official also said that Alex could recall previous documents each filer has made and may refer to those filings when appropriate. Also, Alex compares other IP rights while engaging with a client, and if there are any conflicts, Alex will promptly warn its filer of any potential IP violations, he said. After the presentation, a representative of the South Korean IP office asked how Australia’s filers responded to Alex, and whether there was any pushback. The Australian official responded that there is natural pushback in having an AI interact with older clients. AI has been found to be a generational attraction, he added, however, Australia is “adapting to the times” of technology advancement. He asserted that despite the pushback, IP Australia will proceed to keep up with the trends of technological efficiency. The official also said that the initial investments and production costs of Alex have already paid off, saying that in two years since its debut, Alex has paid back the funds used to begin its production. The end goal, Australia said, is to have Alex eliminate its “tier 1 call centres,” which are the initial point of contact for most companies and provide end-user support. Alex works 24 hours a day and seven days a week, guiding filing applications, the official noted. Asserting a commitment to transparency, Australia said that it would freely share information about Alex with any other IPOs. Image Credits: IP Australia Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Gaensly Joseph may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Artificial Intelligence Applied: ‘Alex’ May Respond To Trademark Filers’ Facial Expressions" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.