Anti-domestic abuse chatbot rAInbow launches in South Africa today - Stuff

Anti-domestic abuse chatbot rAInbow launches in South Africa today

Funded by the Sage Foundation, rAInbow is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot that helps victims of domestic abuse find help. The bot was officially launched in South Africa today — and is the first chatbot of its kind locally. It runs through Facebook Messenger, and the developers have plans to port it to other messaging apps, like WhatsApp.

One of the main issues with regards to domestic violence is that many victims feel they cannot speak to another human in a private, objective space. rAInbow believes that an AI-based chatbot gives users the privacy they need to freely talk about real problems and receive objective advice — advice that they may not feel comfortable asking for from another human being.

Developed by Kriti Sharma, the CEO of AI for Good, rAInbow is an ethical tool of sorts. The AI is trained to learn patterns of people’s behaviour and uses digital storytelling techniques to explain how to find help in a sensitive and emotionally-conscious way.

It should be noted that rAInbow does not replace conventional psychology. Although technology can be an aid in sensitive and dire matters, rAInbow doesn’t claim to replace traditional psychology and other support methods.

The bot is labelled ‘a companion for survivors of domestic abuse’, because its main goal is to motivate women and people in need to seek help and ‘survive’.

Knowing the sensitive nature of anything domestic violence-related, anything that is said to rAInbow arrives at the company’s servers on an anonymous basis — and any data collected this way will only be used for to draw attention to the existence of domestic violence in this country. Information that could be used to identify users isn’t collected.

To start talking with rAInbow about domestic violence, search for ‘Hi rAInbow’ in the Facebook Messenger app, or you can visit their website.

Marce is the Deputy Digital Editor at Stuff Magazine.

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