Novel Mumbai prototype seeks to bring human and machine intelligence together in streets of Dahravi

While many people worry about the coming of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a team from IIT Bombay and Swansea University's Computational Foundry are finding ways of combining machine and human intelligence.

Internet of things

Previously, they have successfully deployed separate AI and human powered speech assistants in the streets of Dahravi. But, now they are working to combine the benefits of AI with human question-answerers.

The prototypes will be installed in nine street-side shops and passers-by will be able to try them for free. By pressing a button they can ask a question: first the machine attempts to answer immediately but if it cannot help – or the user wants a better answer – it is sent to remote human helpers. Using a mobile phone app, these Mumbai residents will try to provide a more satisfying result and send the spoken response back to the box.

Professor Matt Jones of the Computational Foundry said, "There's a darkness descending on things digital at the moment as everyday people worry about AI, big data and the like; our work seeks to show how human and machine intelligences can work together in effective ways".

Professor Joshi of the Industrial Design Centre at IIT Bombay said: "We've been working with the UK team for several years along with members of the public in Dahravi. This is the exciting next step in the project and we are all looking forward to the results".

Leading the deployments are Dani Kalarikalayil Raju (of Mumbai) and Thomas Reitmaier (of Swansea).

Dani Kalarikalayil Raju notes the challenges ahead: "We are working with a complex technology and trying to ensure it works in an effective way, understood by locals and easy to use".

Thomas Reitmaier said: "Dahravi residents are helping shape the future of spoken language systems not just for Mumbai, or India but potentially the world - their help in this work is vital and much appreciated".