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May 08, 2018
Chatbot technology brings financial literacy to women in India
By: Accenture Labs India

Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbot technology are the tools to bring financial literacy to India’s low income women through a partnership between Accenture Labs and the Grameen Foundation in India.

Overcoming obstacles to micro-business development, such as access to financial services, literacy and social interaction skills, forms the basis of the collaboration.

One technique involves using a new AI-based web and mobile app called Emotional Analytics for Social Enterprise (EASE), which will help microfinance advisors gain real-time insights from video and audio inputs as to the emotional and cognitive status of their clients. By improving cross-cultural communication, users can receive deeper insights on precisely what topics and key words attract attention or cause clients to disengage.

Grameen Guru is a smartphone-based multilingual chatbot that uses augmented reality technology to help people who can’t read or understand written materials. For example, someone using the mobile app can hold their phone over a brochure that details available financing options. The Grameen Guru virtual assistant will pop up and prompt a conversation in the local language to explain the material.

Breaking down barriers

The partnership’s main mission is to empower India’s economically disadvantaged, especially women, with information for making informed choices that positively impact their financial and social well-being. Accenture began working with the Grameen Foundation in 2017 as part of a broader corporate citizenship program.

Pink Woman

“Barriers, ranging from illiteracy to a lack of bank branches in rural areas, coupled with a lack of confidence and access to information, hinder millions of low-income women in India,” said Prabhat Labh, Grameen Foundation India chief executive officer.

The Grameen Foundation plans to roll out EASE and Guru across 300 villages in the states of Maharashtra and Odisha. The new applications build on the foundation’s successful implementation of the G-LEAP e-learning platform, which is being used by more than 1,000 frontline microfinance workers in India.

“This collaboration is part of Accenture’s Tech4Good initiative to apply disruptive technologies in new and unique ways to address complex social challenges,” said Sanjay Podder, Managing Director – Accenture Labs and Tech4Good programme lead.

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