From AI to IA

Although it’s now a commonplace that Gen AI will change the world, many of the early examples of large language models in action are basically toys (albeit sometimes really cool ones) rather than directly valuable applications.

Not that toys are a bad thing. Humans are hard-wired to enjoy play, and asking ChatGPT to write poetry or Midjourney to draw pictures is arguably a great way to encourage creative people to discover just how dazzling this class of technology can be in the right hands.

But it isn’t until you seek to apply a new technology to real life problems that you know what it is actually capable of.

When we first started thinking in earnest about AI, along with many others we imagined that the main application to a service such as ours would be to provide faster, better, more relevant responses to customers over live chat. We were right: it will allow us to scale much more rapidly and with much higher levels of service than might otherwise have been possible.

What we didn’t initially suspect was that it would also unlock completely new ways of providing value to our users, and that it would enable capabilities that would not previously have been commercially viable or even possible.

Until, that is, we started playing with it.

By taking advantage of our deep understanding of the UK retail energy market, and the back office and commercial capabilities we’ve been building over the last 18 months, we’ve been able to release the beta version of an ‘intelligent agent’, or IA, which we believe can instantly save most UK households well over £100 apiece.

As it matures — in good part in response to user feedback — this IA will save money not just on energy bills but on contracts of all sorts. It will instantly and reliably extract details and spot problems that would previously have required tons of dreary manual data entry.

Layer on top of that some sensible alerts and notifications, and other convenient ways of connecting your household data, and you can see how our IA will take on the burden of worrying about bills and household contracts so you don’t have to. It will save real people money and time.

The feature we’re releasing today is really just a foretaste. We could have kept it under wraps for a bit longer, but we are taking the decision to build this capability ‘out in the open’ so we can learn rapidly from your feedback and input.

So please do sign up and have a play for yourself. And then we’d love to hear what you think.

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No-one should be dealing with the cost-of-living crisis all alone. We’re building a new service to liberate households from drudgery and make people’s lives simpler and fairer.

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