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Sowing Social Seeds: Voice Technology Connects India's Farmers - Scott Klemmer, Stanford Engineering

  1. Sowing Social Seeds: Voice Technology Connects India’s Farmers Neil Patel, Scott Klemmer, and Tapan Parikh Stanford eDay, July 2011
  2. Internet Users World 3B 2B 1B United States ... 90 92 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 20 19 19 19 19 20 19 20 20 20 20 Source: World Bank Development Indicators
  3. by incomedream@Flickr 3
  4. Most of the world’s poor depend on agriculture Over 2 billion agriculture- dependent lives worldwide In India, 600 million Majority smallholders (< 3 acres) Earning < $750/yr; Debts > $300/yr
  5. Agricultural Extension Dissemination of expert advice and technologies to rural communities 100,000 extension officers in India Not comprehensive Not on-demand
  6. Development Support Centre Rural development organization for natural resource management and agricultural productivity enhancement
  7. Radio
  8. Give people a voice 4
  9. A case for voice interaction
  10. Why voice? Developing Regions Works with all phones 50 Mobiles 40 % inhabitants 30 Overcomes illiteracy 20 Broadband 10 Voice preferred to text 0 [Sherwani, PhD thesis 09] 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 [Medhi, et al., CHI 09] Source: International Telecommunications Union, Low barrier to content creation
  11. Avaaj Otalo (“voice stoop”) For information access and sharing Users: low/no education, low literacy, computer novices Interactive voice response (IVR) in Gujarati Dial a number, navigate automated prompts Record question; listen to posted questions; answer a question w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 09]
  12. Listening to questions on AO AO: <tune> Welcome to Avaaj Otalo! You can get to the information by saying a single word. To ask a question, say ‘question’. To listen to announcements, say ‘announcements’. To listen to the radio program, say ‘radio’. User: Question. AO: Okay, you want to ask a question. To record a question, say ‘record’. To listen to other farmers’ questions and answers, say ‘questions’. User: Questions. AO: Okay, you’ll now hear the most recently posted questions & answers. Here is the first question... w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 09]
  13. Piloting Avaaj Otalo Goals Observe real-world usage Uncover design and research Experience for DSC Participants 63 males (all but 2 were farmers) Across 4 geographic regions of Gujarat Native Gujarati speakers Age 18 - 60 (median: 29) 80% no more than high school education No experience with computers or IVRs Implementation Toll-free IBM Voice Site [Kumar et al., NSDR 2007] w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  14. Three features announcements radio archive question and answer w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  15. Calls over time Novelty effect 650 New participants added 488 Calls 325 163 0 15 29 Fe 12 26 -12 Ap 6 r-9 M 3 -7 Ju 1 Ju 4 18 l-2 -2 r-2 -2 n- ay b- n- n- n- b- Ju ar ay ar Fe Ja Ap Ja M M M w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  16. Nearly 20% of callers made 80% of calls Top ten: 80% of calls Top 3 callers 10000 10th grade education or less Geographically remote Under age 30 1000 Calls 100 10 1 1 6 11 16 21 26 31 36 41 Caller w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  17. Q&A Salute to farmer friends, <name> from Kolava. For an earlier question about green and black sucking pests, which pesticide should be sprayed? We received answer from elsewhere that emidacloplete with carbon sulphide can kill green and black sucking pests. Also, when SAT with DDVP is applied the green and black sucking pests die. <farmer’s name>, emidacloplete is for controlling large sucking pests, and will not be effective for [green and black] sucking pests. Instead of that you can use phosphamidon or metasystock. This would be more effective. DDVP that you sprayed will also do. w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  18. Experience Sharing Hello. <name> speaking from Beyok village, Vav taluka, Banaskantha district. Mobile number <number>. I want to inform all farmer friends that for summer vegetable crops, if you find insects, then you should create supports for birds to sit. They can control heliothis. If you use a light at night, then other insects can also be controlled. This can be done in lucerne fodder. We have done this experiment in winter mustard crop. w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  19. Entertainment Songs Jokes MP3 Player w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  20. Social Dynamics Introductions w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  21. Introductions 65% of questions included at least name Hello, I am <name> speaking from Rajkot district, taluka Jasdan, village Vangadhra. My mobile number is <number>... w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  22. Social Dynamics Introductions Moderation w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  23. Moderation Salute to farmers. I want to inform farmer friends that questions asked should be useful to all farmers. Film songs or jokes in between should not be posted. If the question asked is good, all farmer friends will also enjoy listening. Hello. Earlier, <farmer name> had [made recordings] like this. Are you making fun of DSC by asking such questions? Or are you asking for information useful to farming? You have not been given this number for such fun or for timepass... w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  24. Social Dynamics Introductions Moderation Intermediated access w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  25. Intermediated Access Hello. <name> speaking from Beyok village. Three farmer friends here have asked this question. They had [planted] psyllium. It was time of harvesting cumin. Due to unseasonal rains and cyclone, there is 60-80% loss in cumin. For this if it has to be presented to government, then on preliminary basis how can the presentation be done? Request to give answer. w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  26. Social Dynamics Introductions Moderation Intermediated access Social status w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  27. Gaining status Interviewee: I’m always the first one [in the village] to implement new methods and technology in agriculture. I have everything in terms of technology here. Everybody comes to see things at my place. Even Avaaj Otalo — I am the first one to get it in this place. So many experts and scientists are friends with me and I tell them about AO. When they are here they ask to see it and I show them how AO works. They are impressed by how much modern technology and knowledge I have. It is a matter of pride for my family. w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  28. Challenging social status? Why would I use such a system [like AO]? Everybody’s answer has the same value no matter how correct or incorrect it is. I am already respected in my community as someone knowledgeable in agriculture and my answers on [AO] will be treated just like anyone else’s off the street. How does AO benefit people like me? In fact it does not even recognize the knowledge and wisdom I have gathered over the years. w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  29. People preferred answers from authorities over peers Who do you prefer receiving answers from? 65% DSC only 35% DSC and farmers 0% Farmers only (n = 36) [Only] when these other farmer’s questions will be answered by an expert, then I will get to learn from [answers]. Farmers don’t know everything, right? What most of the farmers talk about is common knowledge to us. So I am interested in listening to what the experts say about the questions on AO. w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  30. Experiment: Effects of varying info source Scientist Peer Farmer
  31. Same tips recorded by scientists and farmers Tip 1: Vaccinations Tip 2: Mealybug Tip 3: Pest eggs Tip 4: Root rot record record Tip 5: Orchards Tip 6: Soil testing Two retired professors Two farmers from from local ag universities Tip 7: Animal feed different districts w/ Savani, Klemmer, Parikh
  32. More followups to peer tips Follow-up Rate (z = 2.08, p < .05) 13% 10% 7% 3% 0% Peer Scientist w/ Savani, Klemmer, Parikh
  33. Changes after the pilot Unrestricted access Touchtone Administration interface
  34. The biggest change Toll-free -> Local number 60 paise ~= 1 cent/min
  35. Pilot (63 farmers) v. 2011 (488 farmers) 650 488 Calls 325 Toll-free: 240 calls/week 163 Metered: 94 calls/week 0 15 29 Fe 12 26 -12 Ap 6 r-9 M 3 -7 Ju 1 Ju 4 18 l-2 -2 r-2 -2 n- ay b- n- n- n- b- Ju ar ay ar Fe Ja Ap Ja M M M
  36. Lower call duration by 60% 600 450 Call Duration (s) 300 Toll-free 150 Metered 0 Time
  37. Subsidize public goods through “freebies” Greetings! Here’s today’s information of the day <Spotlighted info> Your feedback is very important to us... Please hold Please record Please rate to be a question, this message connected comment, or according to to AO... feedback... this scale... w/ Klemmer and Parikh
  38. More social interaction with free calls and free recording 0.6 0.5 Msgs/Participant 0.3 0.2 0 free call free rec no sig. difference
  39. Looking ahead...
  40. Awaaz De (“Give your voice”)
  41. Agriculture A Mission For Organic Farming Q&A, experience sharing, market and weather, buying and selling, ...
  42. Education Reaching village school teachers and parents
  43. Women’s and Youth Empowerment Awareness campaigns for human rights
  44. A Farmer Responds I give praise to Avaaj Otalo. I will be forever in your debt for the knowledgeable response you gave to my question ... Farmers will learn so much if an ordinary person is able to ask a question and you send me a message while I am sitting in my house. In the seven years I have been farming this is the first and only time that I have received satisfactory information. So much gratitude to you, and also if I want to sow something now, I’ve got a little extra water, so what should I sow that would be best suited for me?
  45. Thanks! For more info, visit