Artificial Intelligence

Conversational AI steps up the game in fight against Coronavirus

Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) startups are stepping their antics to stem off the unprecedented crisis brought forth by highly contagious Coronavirus.

Today with most Indians and global citizens trapped inside their homes in the aftermath of the lockdown, people are clamoring for every piece of valid information as well as daily needs to fight these tough times. And here is where conversational AI startups are trying hard to play up the rescue act.

Image courtesy: Pixabay Alexey Hulsov  

With lockdown bringing the important services to complete standstill, chatbots have chosen to seize this opportunity to do its bit in lessening hardship of the people.

Today India’s three premier conversational AI startups – Haptik, Niki ai and active.ai – have put their chatbots on a workaholic mode as they look to calm down frayed nerves and panic-ridden minds of Indian citizens.

We look at each of these startups and how their chatbots are helping people to overcome these adverse times.

Just to enlighten a bit, a chatbot is essentially an AI powered software that leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to simulate a conversation with humans. This conversation often takes place without any human intervention. 

Haptik: Among the three startups, Haptik is surely at the forefront of this battle. This is courtesy due to the fact that it has powered Coronavirus dedicated chatbot on government’s official website mygov.in.  With its chatbot placed at one of the heaviest traffic websites, it is expectedly receiving millions of queries each day.

Haptik’s co-founder, Aakrit Vaish, puts the number at nearly 10 Mn queries posed by the people. But this statistics is only for the last week, with numbers now likely to have gone up by quite a few notch.

Vaish claims that their bot is able to handle all types of primary queries pertaining to COVID-19. But when it comes to more in-depth information, the bot quickly direct citizens to government helpline numbers.

Even if Haptik’s chatbot is only able to resolve primary queries, its service must have certainly helped the government in spreading the awareness about coronavirus.

Apart from awareness, Haptik’s chatbot data is also likely to become a major boon in controling the spread of coronavirus in future. The company has reportedly shared data with Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) in order to help in developing predictive models for coronavirus symptoms.

This may invariably help in early detection of coronavirus infected people and thereby curtail the spread of this highly contagious virus.

Active.ai: Coronavirus lockdown has put enormous strains on the financial sector, which is undeniably the very nerve center of the global economy. In these increasingly adverse times, AI chatbots are playing a due role in offering much-needed respite to this beleaguered sector.

Today great amount of this help is coming from Active.ai, a leading conversational AI startup that has its global headquarter in Singapore. What makes Active.ai cut above the rest is that all its AI chatbot products are especially designed to cater to the needs of the financial sector.

Although it is certainly not the only one competing in this highly competitive niche, it is surely one of the highly recognized brands.

Today the company’s chatbots are working tirelessly to resolve tones of financial queries – EMI queries, credit card bill so and so forth – on daily basis. Although we don’t have exact numbers, number of financial queries has supposedly crossed the 1 million mark since the lockdown.

Ravi Shankar, co-founder of Active.ai, has confirmed to the media that their inbound queries has witnessed healthy jump of 8-10 times during last week. With coronavirus forcing most financial institutions to temporarily shut down their call centers, the healthy spike in Active.ai’s inbound queries is nothing to be really surprising about.

Niki: How do you access groceries and other daily needs during curfew, especially if you are living in trier 2 and tier 3 cities where meeting these needs is even more challenging. Well, if you have niki.ai app downloaded on your mobile then you might as well get your groceries with little or no problem.

This Ai powered app has emerged almost like a messiah for small town people who are fighting every inch to access daily needs during the times of lockdown. Currently, the app with the help of their partner delivery companies is currently helping in swift delivery of rations in six small towns located in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Sachin Jaiswal, co-founder of Niki.ai, claims that since the lockdown they have seen almost 30% jump in their orders.

Niki.ai app has been tailor made for small towns, where people are comparatively less tech-savvy.  The app is multilingual as well as voice based, enabling people to order groceries and other items by merely speaking to the app in their native languages.

To sum it up everything, today AI chatbot technology has certainly managed to ease the hardship of millions of people during this unprecedented lockdown phase. While it is true conversational Ai is still a nascent technology and therefore it cannot fulfill many complicated tasks, nonetheless its ability to process several day-to-day needs serves a strong reminder about its inherent technology. And as they say technology by nature is always ahead of its time.

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