Tinkoff Makes Voice Assistant Oleg Introduces Universal AI Phone Defense Against Spam Calls
Russian finance and tech provider Tinkoff has created a free version of its Oleg voice assistant that will filter and block spam and fraudulent calls. The new feature is available to anyone in Russia with a mobile phone, not just those who subscribe to Tinkoff or use its banking services.
Oleg has long been integrated into the Tinkoff SuperApp, where it performs tasks for subscribers since it debuted in late 2019. The voice assistant is able to answer phone calls on behalf of users, recording and transcribing the calls. How the person on the other end responds will trigger different scripts depending on if Oleg, named for the since-departed company founder Oleg Tinkoff, deems the caller to be someone the user wants to hear from, a spam call, or a possible attempt at fraud.
It’s very much like a version of the call screening feature Google offers on all Pixel phones and a few other Android devices, including providing transcripts of those calls. Oleg is, if anything, a more expansive version of the Google feature, although Oleg won’t wait and listen to the hold music as Google Assistant will. The demand for AI-assisted call screening is quite high. According to Tinkoff’s head of product Konstantin Rubtsov, 60% of people have received calls from some kind of scam artist. Speaking at this year’s Conversations conference, he discussed the development of Oleg and its expanding remit toward non-Tinkoff subscribers.
“In 2020, we had more than 120 million calls which were processed by voice assistant,” Rubtsov said in the translated presentation. “The calls were decoded, processed, scenarios were developed, and everything was sent to the clients of Tinkoff Mobile.”
Where Oleg stands out is how the Tinkoff VoiceKit SDK has made the same service available not only for Tinkoff app users but anyone on popular social media and messaging services Telegram or VKontakte as well. Users can converse with Oleg on those platforms and get advice on protecting themselves from scams or even hear a joke. The defensive call service was trained on more than 110 million calls to create the scripts used in response. The call can be rejected, passed through, or transferred to a Telegram chat. Oleg Defender has been very popular already, with Rubtsov reporting an 80% retention rate from users who try out the feature. Oleg has already demonstrated how its SDK on Telegram allows for more experimentation. Oleg was the first voice assistant to appear on Clubhouse, where it is supposed to be able to moderate discussions and transcribe the conversation on a Telegram channel.