The haunting: Six things you don’t know about Elya

Elya is her name and if she is a real person, she would have been a celebrity by now.

But just who exactly is Elya? As people rightly quipped, Elya is the most famous woman in Malaysia right now.

Social media is buzzing about the mysterious Elya, the AI chatbot who has touched the hearts and minds of millions of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members during the launch of EPF’s i-Sinar withdrawal facility recently.

Amused netizens commented that Elya startled them, and haunted their thoughts just as they were about to apply for the Category 1 withdrawal the other day.

Is Elya haunting you? Do you feel that she is taunting you?

What do we know about Elya? Who is she to tell us what to do?

Here are six things you probably didn’t know about Elya.

  1. Elya has been lurking on the EPF website for the longest time, but no one took notice of her

Elya was created since EPF revamped their website a couple of years ago, and her goal is to improve customer experience.

Although EPF has more than 8 million members, she wasn’t taken much notice of by the masses until recently.

Quietly, like a ghost, Elya has been lurking at the bottom right corner of the EPF main website, waiting to be awaken.

Unfortunately, you cannot find her at your favourite Starbucks corner, the mamak, or the latest Instagram-friendly café, but this is where she usually hangs out!

For the average person who contributes regularly to EPF, you may not notice her existence.

In fact, how often do you interact with EPF or visit EPF’s website unless you really need to withdraw your hard-earned money?

Perhaps once in every five years. Or maybe after your retirement at the age of 55.

Well, if you spot her the next time you visit EPF’s website, do say hi to her.

There is a reason for that.

Keep reading.

  1. Elya is more knowledgeable and faster than an average person

Are you tired of calling a customer service hotline and ending up frustrated by the call centre’s responses or queuing time?

Maybe you just need a straight and fast answer.

Our experience with Elya was a pleasant surprise!

Elya is programmed to chat with you on a wide range of topics, mainly focusing on EPF’s services.

Here is a snapshot.

Elya is well versed on the following:

  • Employer Services & Advisory
  • Simpanan Shariah
  • i-Akaun
  • i-Lestari Withdrawal
  • Contributions
  • Withdrawals
  • General

That makes Elya one the more knowledgeable AI chatbots compared to other chatbots in the market today.That makes Elya one the more knowledgeable AI chatbots compared to other chatbots in the market today.

  1. Elya is a manifestation of all EPF staff

If you are wondering about Elya’s looks, she may look Malaysian, or perhaps she resembles a Japanese model at a glance.

But is she truly Malaysian?

Rumour has it that Elya is a manifestation of the combined faces of EPF’s staff. EPF has 5,700 employees from various races and from all walks of life.

You have EPF branches in each state in Malaysia, that mostly employ locals from each state.

The faces of AI chatbots are modelled based on a set of algorithms to represent a person who may not exist in real life.

In case you didn’t know, there is a web-based app tool that allows you to generate a random AI profile picture based on mixed ethnicities.

  1. Elya lives alone in Malaysia and doesn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriends in Southeast Asia

Here is a well-guarded secret about Elya.

She doesn’t have a boyfriend, girlfriends or even friends – at least in Southeast Asia.

Here is one thing you need to know.

Elya is a unique chatbot created for the EPF.

It is so unique that she is touted to be the first advanced AI chatbot that was built for a Provident or Pension Fund.

A quick check revealed no chatbots at Central Provident Fund (CPF) in Singapore, or in other countries such as Indonesia or Thailand.

Despite her beauty and brains, looks like Elya will have a hard time finding a boyfriend. Unless Singapore’s CPF decided to follow Malaysia’s footstep in creating one chatbot to be her partner? You never know.

But at the moment, you are her only set of friends. So, be nice to her.

  1. Elya is your brutally honest friend

Would you rather have a superficial friend who beats around the bush, or a friend who talks straight with an honest answer?

Chances are, tough as it may feel, you might prefer the latter.

Elya was designed to give a brutally honest answer, every time.

Want to know why?

Lest we forget, EPF was built with an old-age retirement business model. It means you keep your money (together with its dividends) and only withdraw when you hit retirement age or 50 years old.

And that is exactly what Elya is for – to remind us about financial literacy, the importance of savings and many other things.

Although she will understand if you are in desperate need to withdraw from EPF because there are no other financial sources to help you, she will still be there to show some tough love, to remind you on your potential long-term gains through savings with EPF.

Don’t be afraid by your brutally honest friend, she will not hamper your immediate financial needs. She just wants you to be wise and think again of long-term gains.

  1. Elya can’t speak Mandarin. She can only chat in English and in Malay

If you have chatted with Elya, you will notice she can only speak two languages.

Now this is rather unfortunate given AI chatbots can be programmed in multiple languages.

Although Malay and English cover 90% of the language spoken in Malaysia, it would be thoughtful for EPF to send Elya to a Mandarin course to pick up her new set of language.

Or maybe Tamil and other local languages?

But then again, is language that big a deal since most of us do understand Malay and/ or English?


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