As the CIO of one of Brazil’s largest banks, Walkiria has overseen the development of Bradesco’s virtual assistant, Bradesco Inteligência Artificial. Initially designed as a Q&A system for internal employees, BIA now answers questions consumers may have about bank products, making Bradesco the first Brazilian bank to implement AI in a customer service setting.

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How are you using Watson in your business?
IBM reached out with a commercial proposition for Bradesco to use Watson back in 2015. We knew that was the appropriate moment for this promising technology and jumped right in. Now, Watson is the AI engine behind our digital assistant BIA. As of March 2019, BIA has surpassed 100 million interactions.

What’s been the biggest surprise about integrating AI into your business?
Our most pleasant surprise was the responsiveness of the new technology. Every time we push Watson to its limits, it gives us back more. For example, when we first tested Watson on understanding the Portuguese language, we introduced variations such as slang, regionalisms, abbreviations, prolixity and even vulgar language. Even so, the results were better than expected.

What advice would you share with others who are considering using AI?
Artificial intelligence is only possible with human wisdom. So treat your people well. Artificial means that it is made by people, and people with the right combination of skills to develop AI are not abundant these days. Ideally, working with AI requires the technical knowledge of a data scientist, the savviness of a teacher, and the ability to translate highly technical information in ways that others can understand. This requires good communication skills and the ability to work with colleagues on a team. It’s no wonder that most of our core team have been reskilled in-house. Those with technical backgrounds had to acquire soft skills and vice-versa. So far, we’ve managed to keep the team very engaged. But we know that there is a growing need in the market for professionals with this experience, so we treat our employees well.

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