Tech firm builds artificial intelligence that speaks te reo Māori

Author: Ripu Bhatia, Journalist – Stuff NZ

Using artificial intelligence, a tool for public consultation aims to ensure indigenous voices aren’t left out.

Auckland-based tech company FranklyAI’s new chatbot can converse in te reo Māori, Samoan and other Indigenous languages, as well as their cultural customs.

It is designed for government bodies and companies wanting to consult with the public, but could also help bridge a gap in access to medical care.

Founder and chief executive Matt Ensor said FranklyAI was started to reach communities that didn’t engage well using traditional methods. He said this was to do with not only language, but culture.

“Most, if not all, online forms typically use a very Western transactional approach. So what we needed to do was design an online tool that would be very respectful and culturally appropriate to Māori and Pasifika,” Ensor said.

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