Family Federation of Finland, a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), experimented on the use of Artificial Intelligence in providing information and advice on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the context of the complex and sensitive area of sexuality.
Comprehensive sex education is critical in empowering people to make choices that promote their health, safety, and well-being. However, in most developing countries, sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services are often limited. Particularly adolescents, persons with disabilities, and unmarried adults are excluded. Most often, sex education in schools focuses on narrow topics and negative messages about sexuality without relating to adolescents’ questions and concerns, leaving them vulnerable. There is a vast and urgent need to develop methods to deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights information, advice and guidance that would transcend the current obstacles and reach people in need when they need it.
While SmartBot technology can be applied to any thematic topic, the actual content creation is time-consuming due to the topic’s sensitivity. Further, it was challenging to keep to established terminologies and vocabularies fully understandable to the users when using the AI automatic translation of content to different languages.
As an important component of the experiment, Family Federation and Neuvo created a comprehensive SRHR data package for the SmartBot that was used to converse with users. A SmartBot with ability to understand, adapt, and respond to user’s questions was created and ultimately tested with 31 users. Questions ranged from sexual education, education on abortion, sexual violence, and puberty knowledge, among others, with 81% detection confidence.
There is potential to scale by the global International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) with interested member organizations upon further development of the SmartBot.