Technology, Top News

Alexa’s ‘Becky’ helps A-level students with clearing places

IF YOU ARE one of the roughly half-a-million students getting your A-Level results today, first of all, good luck from us at INQ.

Second of all, if you’re one of those who didn’t quite get what they hoped when you opened the envelope, go home and shout at Alexa – go on, you have our permission.

Leeds Beckett University is launching Becky, a chatbot that helps you navigate the clearing process (for our overseas readers, this is the process of finding a university placement if you didn’t get the results required for your first choice).

Becky launched last year via Facebook Messenger after being designed by a 2016 graduate. It has now expanded to be voice controlled through an Echo speaker, or any other Alexa powered device.

Last year, 46.6 per cent of students using the service enrolled on the courses they were offered. It sounds low, but for clearing and especially clearing with a gimmick, that’s ruddy high.

Dougal Scaife, head of Digital Experience and Engagement at Leeds Beckett University, said: “Becky offered her first places at university to students last year and we recognised that students were asking her much more than just clearing questions. 

“So, we have now programmed her to be able to answer questions on a wider range of topics. One of Becky’s main advantages is that she’s available 24 hours a day, freeing up our humans to deal with applicants’ complex questions.

“We’re excited to be working with Amazon on the Alexa development, which is new for this year.”

The “freeing up humans” aspect is one of the most significant points here, as it reflects one of the major hopes for AI. By answering the basic questions without human help, it can free trained people to spend longer dealing with the stuff they’re best at.

It’s better for the callers, and better for the staff, who will hopefully feel more fulfilled in their roles, and as such, lead to lower staff turnover.

If you want to try it, as you’re probably well aware, clearing opens at 1500BST though Becky is available already.

Then we suggest you get absolutely ruddy smashed. μ 

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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