AI-powered smart companion, rAInbow, recognised by UN

April 22, 2019 • Artificial Intelligence, Online & Social, Top Stories

AI-powered smart companion, rAInbow, recognised by UN

Kriti Sharma, VP of AI at Sage and Founder of AI for Good.

Sage has announced that AI-powered smart companion, rAInbow, has won a UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Netexplo Award.

Founding partner Sage Foundation worked with AI for Good and the Soul City Institute for Social Justice to develop rAInbow. It is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered smart companion supporting victims of domestic violence in South Africa.

Accessed via Facebook Messenger, rAInbow democratises access to information and support for victims of domestic violence, their friends and their family. It provides a safe space for those at risk of entering controlling relationships, including victims and survivors of domestic violence, to access information about their rights, support options and where they can find help – in friendly, simple language.

During development, Sage Foundation gathered close to one hundred true stories in face to face meetings with women who have experienced domestic abuse. These true stories allow rAInbow to present recognisable scenarios and to interact in a conversational way. The result has been engagement rates four times higher than the industry average.

Netexplo is an independent observatory that studies the impact of digital technology on society and business. The Netexplo Innovation Forum, in partnership with UNESCO, showcase 10 breakthrough digital innovations from a pool of 2,000 spotted by a global network of leading universities.

Sage Foundation VP, Debbie Wall adds: “rAInbow exemplifies the beneficial possibilities of AI, by opening conversations victims often don’t want to have with a real person.

“This integration of community service and tech innovation sits neatly within our global programme of corporate philanthropy, for which one of our key pillars is supporting women. It’s particularly important to us given that South Africa has one of the highest femicide rates in the world. I wholeheartedly thank the UNESCO Netexplo team for recognising the value of this innovation.”

The award was accepted by Kriti Sharma, VP of AI at Sage and Founder of AI for Good, at the Netexplo Innovation Forum 2019 hosted at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, from 17 to 19 April.

“We are thrilled to receive this prestigious award. It validates our belief that we can use technology to solve social challenges like domestic violence. The award also acknowledges that when technologists and non-technologists come together to solve a problem, they can make a massive impact in the world,” says Sharma.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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