In Brief: Robot fields customer service questions at Hauptbahnhof, Deutsche Umwelthilfe ‘award’ targets unnecessary plastic packaging

Over the next six weeks, a robot will answer simple travel questions at Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof. The hope is this kind of AI technology will free up customer service employees for more complex inquiries. Find out more in your KCRW Berlin News Brief.

© Deutsche Bahn AG/Hans-Christian Plambeck

 

There’s a new face of customer service at the Hauptbahnhof: a robot named SEMMI. SEMMI, which stands for “Socio-Empathetic Human-Machine Interaction,” will be stationed at the Deutsche Bahn Reisezentrum.

Over the next six weeks the robot will answer simple travel questions. The hope is this kind of AI technology will free up customer service employees for more complex inquiries.

The robot’s software is designed to learn from every customer conversation. The service is available in a number of languages including German, English, French, Polish, Spanish and Italian.

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Die Deutsche Umwelthilfe, known in English as Environmental Action Germany, is collecting submissions for a new award likely no manufacturer or supermarket will want to receive.

 

 

In a YouTube video released Wednesday, the nonprofit environmental association called for people to post photos and videos on social media of unnecessary plastic packaging with the hashtag #Verpackungswahnsinn. In English, that translates to packaging madness or insanity.

Some examples the association gave – tea bags, coffee pods, bananas and cucumbers.

Submissions will be collected through July 19 and the “Goldener Geier” prize – in English, the “Golden Vulture” – will be awarded later this summer.

 

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.

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