CSE498, Collaborative Design, Fall 2021
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Ally Financial is a financial services company based in Detroit, Michigan, operating as one of the largest car finance companies in the United States. Ally has amassed an immense customer base, financing cars for over 4 million people and having 2 million depositors. Ally also offers online banking and online trading, bolstering the services they provide for their customers.

Ally is a strictly digital company, offering no physical locations for customers. Because of this, Ally has been innovating the online service field since their founding. As artificial intelligence (AI) has advanced, Ally has been exploring inventive methods of digital customer service rooted in AI.

Our Digital Avatar Assistant is a cutting-edge AI assistant that provides Ally customers with real-time communication relating to their accounts, as well as custom-tailored financial advice.

Customers interact with our assistant through a chatbot interface embedded in Ally’s website. Users ask questions by typing or speaking with the assistant about a wide array of topics, including account information, budgeting, spending analysis, etc.

To provide a lifelike experience, our assistant reacts with animated movement and facial expressions depending on context, mimicking a conversation with a human.

We use machine learning, natural language processing, and AI to analyze customer spending and budgeting habits to provide user-specific financial advice. Our Digital Avatar Assistant keeps track of user spending and provides reminders and warnings if the user is in danger of not meeting their spending goals.

The Digital Avatar Assistant is developed using Rasa. Our application uses Amazon EC2 for machine learning, Amazon S3 for model storage, DynamoDB for conversation storage, and a combination of Amazon Transcribe and Amazon Polly for conversational functionality. The user interface is built with React.