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Pommie Lutchman

Founder and CEO of Ocular Technologies

Introducing Specific Al into the wild

A real-world, currently in production, implementation of specific Al. The implementation of an artificial intelligent, anthropomorphized chatbot. This conversational interface can have a conversation with customers, respond with various actions, and escalate the conversation to humans.

Recently it was reported that 40% of AI start-ups in Europe don’t actually use AI.  Companies want to take advantage of the AI hype. So, we find Artificial Intelligence is one of the most distorted terms in tech today, and organisations are following the hype, without any AI work existing within their organisations. 

Fear and trepidation are perpetuated by the possible future implementation of “General AI”. General AI can be seen as a nefarious ubiquitous digital overlord we are all beholden to. Crafting this dystopian future in minds of many.   

This presentation will deal with a real-world “Specific AI” implementation of a chatbot, this can also be referred to as cognitive computing via a conversational interface.  We will look at the planning, implementation and operation of a chatbot.  Learnings, pitfalls, the good, the bad, and the funny.

Technologies Covered:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Natural Language Understanding
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Tone and Sentiment Analysis
  • Language Classification
  • Training AI


Pommie Lutchman is the founder and CEO of Ocular Technologies, the Chairman of the Board at the Contact Centre Management Group or CCMG (the registered professional body of the South African Contact Centre industry) and the Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) of OcularCloud™, Ocular Technologies’ Cloud Solutions division.

In a career that spans over two decades, Pommie played an in integral role in the Business Development and Integration Services divisions at Siemens Enterprise Networks, and, was instrumental in the implementation and management of the MultiChoice Distributed Call Centre network in the late 1990’s.

He now heads up Ocular Technologies, a specialist Customer Engagement & Digital Experience solution provider and tech incubator that provides Intelligent Interaction Management, Robotic Process Automation, Natural Language Processing and Cognitive Analysis & Design, as well as Contact Centre Technologies, Workforce Management & Social Media Integration solutions to the Southern Africa region.

A finalist in the “Top Black Male Entrepreneur” category at the 2011 Impumelelo Empowerment Awards, Pommie features regularly on the South African speaking circuit, providing Thought Leadership insights and advice on topics such as The Consumerisation of IT, Social Media in the Enterprise, Contact Centre Best Practices, Cognitive Computing & AI, and even Generation Theory.

A dedicated and diligent philanthropist, Pommie has committed much of his professional life to giving back to the community and, together with the Ocular team, has concentrated much of his corporate social investment initiatives on Sport and Education in South Africa, while also participating in various local and international fundraising events.