TN agency to develop first voice user interface by government in Tamil

A voice user interface uses speech recognition technology to enable users to interact with devices with just their voices

Published: 09th October 2020 03:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th October 2020 03:04 PM   |  A+A-

Apple Siri iPhone

Siri and Alexa have brought voice user interfaces into the mainstream (File Photo | AFP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu e-governance agency (TNeGA) on Friday expressed its keenness to develop the first voice user interface (VUI) by the government in Tamil to help residents fill up forms to avail government services.

Santosh Misra, the Chief Executive Officer of the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA), announced this during the global virtual summit on Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Social Empowerment or RAISE 2020 in New Delhi on Friday. Information technology Minister R B Udaya Kumar and Additional Chief Secretary Hans Raj Verma, who heads the state information technology department, were also present on the occasion.

Wooing new start-ups to help the state develop the voice user interface, he vowed that the state will back them but stressed the need for low-cost solutions that would benefit the common man.

Interestingly, Tamil Nadu is one of two states which have been given slots to highlight their initiatives in artificial intelligence during the global summit as it has come out with its own policies on ethical artificial intelligence, cyber-security and blockchain.

Later, talking to The New Indian Express, Misra said the state is keen to develop the Tamil based government voice user interface so that the keyboard barrier to access technology is lifted.

He said that the majority of people in the state are still going to e-sevai centres as they don't have access to a keyboard or face difficulties in operating it. Similarly, elderly people are not tech savvy, he said. The voice user interface in Tamil will remove the barrier, he added.

A voice user interface uses speech recognition technology to enable users to interact with devices with just their voices. Currently, Siri and Alexa have brought it into the mainstream and other global giants are also entering the arena.

Misra also highlighted that the state is keen to develop Artificial Intelligence-based satellite imagery for the state so that it could reduce urban and water body encroachment.

It is learnt that the Chennai Smart City had urged the Tamil Nadu e-governance agency to develop such a technology and the idea is at the conceptual stage.

Information technology secretary Hans Raj Verma said that the state is tapping Artificial Intelligence technology to ensure social inclusion and creation of sustainable jobs. He also highlighted the need to tap technology to document the biodiversity wealth of the state. The session was moderated by Raj Cherubal, chief executive officer of Chennai Smart City.

Sridhar Vembu, chief executive officer of Zoho Corporation, Jitender Singh Minhas, CEO IAMAI Start-up Foundation, Dr Ashfaq Bhat, Director of Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) and Tathagato Rao Dastidar, CEO of Sig-Tupple, also participated in the panel discussion at Raise 2020.

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