A chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, IM bot, interactive agent, or Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test. Chatbots are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including customer service or information acquisition. Some chatterbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems, but many simpler systems scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database.
The field of chatbots for good is still emerging, but nonprofit and government organizations have begun to develop use cases.
The chatbot technology has the potential to be an innovative tool for development and humanitarian organizations to better communicate with their beneficiaries. The ability to deploy a scaled outreach campaign while not heavily burdening staff with regards to time and training has the potential to be one invaluable use of chatbots to development organizations with and without an ICT focus.
Chatbots smartly guide beneficiaries and other end users through surveys, making the surveys easier to understand and complete correctly. There are options for additional functionality using artificial intelligence and machine learning in the interpretation of messages and sending of information.
Smartphones and chatbots have made services from banking to transportation more accessible across Africa. Now, aid agencies are hoping they can do the same with food.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) routinely carries out food security analysis in order to assess and track the need for food assistance in its areas of operation. WFP maintains a network of 1.5o food security analysts who work with governments to implement surveys of household food security and markets. WFP commonly implements comprehensive and emergency food security assessments as well as market assessments and facilitates or maintains food security monitoring systems in many of its countries of presence.
In the last year WFP has also experimented with chatbot-based survey.
Chatbots will not be the solution to all problems, but simply another ICT tool that has the potential to deliver value with a thoughtful approach and proper design and development.
Agriculture is the mainstay of national economies and household incomes in many African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
The role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in agriculture is truly significant in everything, from conserving water use to helping secure the livelihoods of rural women. The huge potential of ICT for agriculture (ICT4Ag), from increasing agricultural yields to helping farmers to get a fairer price for their produce, is well documented. Technologies such as SMS applications, mobile banking and satellite data have been used successfully in order to give agricultural stakeholders access to farm mapping, weather data, marketing tools, financial credit, advice from extension workers, and social networks, among other things.
Gnucoop can also been carry out field missions to test the application, and monitor the roll out and deployment of the developed application, as well as to train local staff on the use of the system. The system will be implemented in many different countries with thousands of users.
When the first two “nerds” founders of Gnucoop decided to dedicate their computer knowledge to the Humanitarian AID they knew they should have involved some professionals with experience in several developing countries working in NGOs sector.
They strongly believed that the combination of technical competencies with development skills would have given international cooperation projects a better chance to be successful. Gnucoop dedicates a considerable part of its work to activities aiming at providing customized IT solutions and technical assistance to INGOs, UN Agencies and Humanitarian Aid Organisations, supporting them in achieving their purposes.
At the beginning, the understanding of the specific language used by developers, the existence of many acronyms, technical terms, simple words used with a completely different meaning didn’t make easy our work.
During project implementation we had to use many different tools specific for a Software Development project (i.e. project management platform for agile developers, web-based hosting service for source code).
Step by step, project by project, testing by testing, we discovered a new world and now we can say that part of nerds language is also our language.
The merger of these two worlds, which look far from each other in the collective imagination, is our strength. This combination which links nerds, always represented working alone in a tiny room under the light of their PC, and Humanitarian workers, always travelling around the world and surrounded by people, made Gnucoop an uncommon Software House.
For those reasons, it’s a pleasure to share the Digital Development Glossary made by ICTworks and we would like to add some keywords we have already treated in our blog:
E-voucher: Electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) carry information on the monetary value of assistance or items. They can be exchanged through a barcode, a magnetic band or microchip on a card, or by short message service (SMS). Electronic voucher tools (bank card, cell phone, SCOPECARD, etc.) are issued to beneficiaries only once, whereas their refund value or quantity is remotely credited at predefined temporal intervals.
GIS platform: GIS software systems have been used for more than three decades by humanitarian organisations, researchers, and policy makers in order to activate quick responses to natural disasters, to detect early outbreaks of infectious diseases, target development resources, and for public infrastructure planning, such as hospitals and clinics.
And probably the most important issue for us..
Free software: Free software means users have four essential freedoms: users can run the program, study and change the program in source code form, redistribute exact copies and distribute modified versions.
Free software gives the possibility of re-using software code, editing and sharing with the community the improvements made to the software code.
An operating system composed by free software means that it respects users’ freedom
Since its foundation Gnucoop has always believed that no real innovation comes without knowledge sharing.