Bobbi feels insecure if you give it a poor rating

Bobbi has been created by fintech platform Pealo to help small and medium- sized enterprises find the most relevant government grants.
Bobbi has been created by fintech platform Pealo to help small and medium- sized enterprises find the most relevant government grants.PHOTO: REUTERS

BOBBI
www.facebook.com/mypealo

Bobbi is a Facebook Messenger chatbot created by fintech platform Pealo to help small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) find the most relevant government grants.

It is very similar to Sevi, presenting a list of options that is refined with each subsequent follow-up question, like an automated phone system.

After reaching the end of a series of queries, you will be offered the choice of a different line of questioning or see the grants that Bobbi has found for your case.

The chatbot will list the names and amount provided by the relevant grants. You can also leave your contact details for a human being to go through the grants in detail.

Bobbi is all business, without the ability to interpret most conversational cues.

At the end, you can give feedback (a score of 1, 3 or 5) on your experience with Bobbi. I gave it a 1, which prompted Bobbi to ask if I would revise the rating, as it is "really insecure".

In short, Bobbi is all business, without the ability to interpret most conversational cues. The occasional flashes of humour are obviously pre-programmed but, like Sevi, this chatbot is a quick way to get some information without having to read through multiple FAQs or search a database.

Vincent Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2016, with the headline 'Bobbi feels insecure if you give it a poor rating'. Print Edition | Subscribe