Meet TESS, a MyBucks conversational AI system

20 November 2018

Luxembourg 19 November 2018 – MyBucks (MyBucks; WKN: A2AJLT, ISIN LU1404975507, Ticker MBC:GR), a Frankfurt-listed FinTech that delivers seamless financial services and products through innovative technology, has officially launched TESS – a proprietary chatbot geared to revolutionise how visitors navigate, engage and interact with its corporate website –

"TESS is a ground-breaking conversational AI system developed from first principles in the MyBucks AI and Innovation Lab. It’s capable of navigating a website, answering questions and directing you to an appropriate section within its pages most relevant to your question,” says Dave van Niekerk, Executive Chairman at MyBucks.

“Capable of receiving commands through speech recognition and answering questions through text-to-speech in ten languages, it is, to our knowledge, one of the first examples of a conversational AI system using text or speech to control and navigate a corporate website, as opposed to the traditional graphical user interface approach.”

MyBucks envisioned this specific use case while contemplating ways of illustrating the usefulness of conversational AI systems to stakeholders and clients:

“We took it a step further and trained TESS to answer more specific questions relating to the company’s operations and financials,” explains van Niekerk.

“With Tess, visitors can access abridged income statements, balance sheets and ratios, and will even refer visitors to necessary financial information, heightening transparency as she does. It’s a part of redefining the future of websites and a way for companies to make their information more transparent and easily accessible."

For example, Tess will answer questions of interest like: ‘Who is MyBucks?' or ‘How many countries does MyBucks operate in?’, but will also answer more pertinent questions referring to the world of FinTech and business, like “What was your revenue in 2018?” and ‘What is Haraka?’

As a revolutionary way to navigate MyBucks’ information, the FinTech envisages that other companies will come to utilise TESS in the same way. She is an innovative and easy way to navigate products, discuss technology and refer clients to where they need to be within seconds:

“TESS is more than a domain-specific chatbot. Since she has been designed as a more generic natural language understanding (NLU) system, she can be configured for multiple-use cases: The system contains its own scripting language to easily configure new tasks and contains a context management engine that allows the system to keep track of the context of a conversation.”

These and other capabilities, such as entity recognition, slot filling, intent classification and the ability to connect and interact with other information systems makes her exceptionally unique. They are the building blocks that allow MyBucks to easily configure TESS for a wide range of applications – to create a conversational system through which multiple chatbots can be scripted and deployed.

Through use of some of the latest breakthroughs in machine-learning, specifically deep-learning, models are trained with thousands of news articles and text sources to gain an understanding of language. According to van Niekerk, these language models “attempt to capture the complexity inherent in the use of language and allow MyBucks to create mathematical descriptions of words and sentences.

“Using these models, MyBucks is capable of accurately processing human language. On our website specifically, she acts as a new form of user interface where text is used to interact with the website, as opposed to the current approach of graphical user interfaces driven by clicking and scrolling.”

Furthermore, due to her flexible design, she now even speaks 10 languages and boasts the capacity to adopt more. This flexibility has seen her deployment across MyBucks’ various businesses as multiple chatbots, and her enhancement will also see MyBucks pursue the white-labelling of the technology as it looks to roll-out the tech as part of its FinTech offering.

“It is only the beginning for TESS as her use in the FinTech space will become integral to how many companies operate in future, taking customer experience and service beyond what was ever thought possible.”

As a FinTech leader across Africa, MyBucks recognises the importance and impact of artificial intelligence in global financial systems and how it is imperative to stay ahead of the curve. It is why they have recruited some of the best minds in Africa to innovate and develop new AI products and services within the group.

“TESS joins a host of other proprietary technologies developed by the MyBucks AI and Innovation team, including Jessie for credit scoring, MAICA for predicting missed payments on existing loans, and Dexter for fraud detection during loan applications. These will be joined by some other exciting AI technologies currently in the lab,” concludes van Niekerk.

"We’re constantly developing, ensuring that our AI systems offer customers fast and consistent service that brings about the best possible user experience.”