Eugeny Sivkov, auditor, tax advisor and founder of Eugeny Sivkov Publishers, has made a robot capable of giving tax advice, which is its main distinction from the promobots available at the Russian market. Fifteen companies are already keen to buy this new robot worth RUR 1.5 mio ($26 K), according to Eugeny Sivkov’s Office Robot company.
Eugeny Sivkov has been in tax advising and auditing for many year, and in 2012 he even founded the Party of Russian Taxpayers. He invented his robot to free his employees of the routine work of answering simple and frequently asked questions.
As Eugeny Sivkov told Invest Foresight, “80% of all questions asked about taxes are pretty standard. That is why for some years already, we have a chat bot at our website for answering questions. We then decided to move further and produced a robot”.
The robot named Stas was assembled just a few days ago by a company which is not disclosed. Stas is 1.2 meters high, its weight is 45 kilos, it has a touch screen and animated eyes. Once charged, it can operate for three hours, and when its battery is low, it directs itself to the charger. The robot is capable of moving autonomously and its headpiece can turn 180˚.
By now, 15 customers of Sivkov’s audit company have already placed their orders to buy Stas priced at some RUR 1.5 mio. Kiki, a comparable robot manufactured by Russia’s AlfaRobotics, is worth about half of that, approximately RUR 740 K. Office Robot’s customers include Internet providers, a jam producer, a restaurant, etc. These are not private entrepreneurs who pay imputed tax, and with their turnovers in hundreds of millions of rubles, the companies have to maintain proper accounting and reporting. Meanwhile, Stas is not merely capable of communicating with accountants, but can be a reliable assistant to company CEO and a nice colleague. The robot can tell jokes, communicate with employees, greet them, encourage their activities and even supervise their work submitting reports on their performance to company CEO. It is intended that in the future Stas will be equipped with a lie detector to be used at interviews with applicants.
Stas was first introduced to the public on November 23, at FinMachine artificial intelligence in banking conference held at Digital October Center by FutureBanking. The robot greeted – and at times emphatically greeted – the audience, suggested to get acquainted, chat, play a game or make a photo. During each conversation Stas turned its headpiece toward its dialog partner. If Stas takes a photo, it is then sent to the email address which you have to type at the touch screen since the robot can not do that for you. But it can comment on shooting. According to Stas, there wasn’t enough light in the conference room where pictures were taken. When lighting is poor, Stas can not see properly.
In its memory, fairy tales, taxation advice, video footage, portrait designs, games, etc. are stored. Stas can distinguish people. At FinMachine it addressed Office Robot employee Andrei Shcherbakov by his name and said it was nice ‘Andrei is still with us’. Stas can also remember the individuals it has photographed. Yet, Stas can not communicate with people when it is too noisy, for it to properly hear, it should be addressed in a loud voice with properly formulated sentences. In Eugeny Sivkov’s view, that can make employees more accurate. Stas can create a very special atmosphere wherever it is, by its willingness to communicate and its cheerfulness.
When asked what it can do, Stas says, “Whatever you can teach me”.
Eugeny Sivkov states, the robot may be taught and programmed by its operators in line with their needs.
Office Robot also intends to produce Nastya, a female robot. Unlike Stas, Nastya will be higher (1.5 meters), weigh 70 kilos, have limbs, and look more like a human. Nastya will work in a Moscow restaurant where it will bring dishes to tables, speak to customers and, in some while, take their orders. Its ability to remember the customers will enable the robot to tell the customers which dishes they ordered previously. That can be a competitive advantage for the restaurant.
Currently, Office Robot plans to start its own production of robots in Moscow. To launch assembly using readymade components, company needs just RUR 10 mio ($ 170 K). Since components are foreign-made, that may extend production time. Eugeny Sivkov wants to have his robots assembled at an automated assembly line.
“We do not sell robots as such, we sell a possibility to communicate with them, with the artificial intelligence. A human can be addressed by a properly programmed computer, whereas we teach our robots, therefore we have to make them all by ourselves”, he says.
By Natalia Kuznetsova