SLT4ID: Speech and Language Technologies for International Development
In underserved communities around the world, spoken language systems are potentially more natural, cheaper to deploy/maintain/upgrade, and place fewer requirements (such as literacy) on the user than traditional PC/GUI-based systems, while still offering valuable services such as information access and information sharing. In our first project in this domain, we created and tested a speech user interface for accessing health information resources by low-literate community healthcare workers in rural Sindh province, Pakistan. Our current project, Polly, is a telephone-based dialog system for reaching low-literate populations via a voice-based game, then providing them with development-related voice-based services. In less than a year the system spread virally to more than 165,000 users all over Pakistan, who engaged in more than 630,000 calls.