Voice-based platforms have largely been seen as the next frontier for interaction between users and machines. Technology experts have said that it will be easier to bring vernacular users, who don’t necessarily understand, read, write or speak in English, to interact with machines through voice-based platforms.
The voice assistant is part of India’s larger AI strategy to better connect with the more than 700 million internet users in the country. That’s why India launched a chatbot on WhatsApp to answer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and fight misinformation last year. That chatbot was accessed by more than 30 million people, breaking the record for most users of a chatbot on the platform. Other countries are exploring similar ideas.
It’s unclear whether Umang will be a platform for government organizations to use, which allows integration through APIs, or whether it will be a separate platform that connects directly with the end-user.
A company called Senseforth AI Research has been put on the job, after emerging as the lowest bidder on the government’s tender for the platform. The platform, Umang, will have both voice and text-based chatbots for users to use.
The government will first check the efficacy of the service in English and Hindi before rolling it out in Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu,” a senior government official told the publication.
FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Could it be the Desi Alternative for Alexa, Siri?
Both Google and Amazon have already enabled Hindi searches through their Alexa and Google Assistant platforms, while Apple is yet to enable the same on Siri.
2. Who will control it?
Created a strategy for building out a network of artificial intelligence applications, including a nationwide public service voice assistant in a network called #KrattAI. The idea is to apply AI to accomplish the kind of tasks that usually require a phone call or an in-person visit to a government agency.