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Sowing Social Seeds:
   Voice Technology
Connects India’s Farmers
 Neil Patel, Scott Klemmer, and Tapan Parikh
            Stanford eDay, July 2011
Internet Users
                                                   World
3B


2B


1B
                                             United States


                                                  ...
    90
     92
     94
     96
     98
    00
    02
    04
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    08
     10
  20
  19


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 Source: World Bank Development Indicators
by incomedream@Flickr   3
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
Agricultural Extension

Dissemination of expert
advice and technologies
to rural communities
100,000 extension
officers in India
Not comprehensive
Not on-demand
Development Support Centre
 Rural development organization for
  natural resource management and
agricultural productivity enhancement
Radio
Give people a voice
                4
A case for
voice interaction
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, www.itu.int




Low barrier to content creation
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]
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]
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]
Three features




       announcements                      radio archive   question and answer



w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Entertainment


                          Songs
                          Jokes
                         MP3 Player




w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
Social Dynamics

                   Introductions




w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
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]
Social Dynamics

                   Introductions
                    Moderation




w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
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]
Social Dynamics

                   Introductions
                    Moderation
                    Intermediated access




w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
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]
Social Dynamics

                   Introductions
                    Moderation
                    Intermediated access
                    Social status




w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
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]
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]
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]
Experiment:
Effects of varying info source




 Scientist         Peer Farmer
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
More followups to peer tips
                                   Follow-up Rate
                                     (z = 2.08, p < .05)
                             13%

                             10%

                             7%

                             3%

                             0%
                                   Peer           Scientist
w/ Savani, Klemmer, Parikh
Changes after the pilot

  Unrestricted access
      Touchtone
Administration interface
The biggest change


Toll-free -> Local number
  60 paise ~= 1 cent/min
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
Lower call duration by 60%
                    600


                    450
Call Duration (s)




                    300                                Toll-free



                    150
                                                       Metered


                     0
                                      Time
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
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
Looking ahead...
Awaaz De (“Give your voice”)
Agriculture




     A Mission For Organic Farming


Q&A, experience sharing, market
and weather, buying and selling, ...
Education




Reaching village school
teachers and parents
Women’s and
          Youth Empowerment




Awareness campaigns
for human rights
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?
Thanks!




For more info, visit http://awaaz.de

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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
  • 4.
  • 5. 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
  • 6. Agricultural Extension Dissemination of expert advice and technologies to rural communities 100,000 extension officers in India Not comprehensive Not on-demand
  • 7. Development Support Centre Rural development organization for natural resource management and agricultural productivity enhancement
  • 9. Give people a voice 4
  • 10. A case for voice interaction
  • 11. 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, www.itu.int Low barrier to content creation
  • 12.
  • 13. 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]
  • 14. 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]
  • 15. 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]
  • 16. Three features announcements radio archive question and answer w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  • 17. 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]
  • 18. 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]
  • 19. 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]
  • 20. 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]
  • 21. Entertainment Songs Jokes MP3 Player w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  • 22. Social Dynamics Introductions w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  • 23. 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]
  • 24. Social Dynamics Introductions Moderation w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  • 25. 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]
  • 26. Social Dynamics Introductions Moderation Intermediated access w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  • 27. 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]
  • 28. Social Dynamics Introductions Moderation Intermediated access Social status w/ IBM IRL, DSC, UC Berkeley [CHI 10]
  • 29. 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]
  • 30. 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]
  • 31. 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]
  • 32. Experiment: Effects of varying info source Scientist Peer Farmer
  • 33. 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
  • 34. More followups to peer tips Follow-up Rate (z = 2.08, p < .05) 13% 10% 7% 3% 0% Peer Scientist w/ Savani, Klemmer, Parikh
  • 35. Changes after the pilot Unrestricted access Touchtone Administration interface
  • 36. The biggest change Toll-free -> Local number 60 paise ~= 1 cent/min
  • 37. 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
  • 38. Lower call duration by 60% 600 450 Call Duration (s) 300 Toll-free 150 Metered 0 Time
  • 39. 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
  • 40. 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
  • 42. Awaaz De (“Give your voice”)
  • 43. Agriculture A Mission For Organic Farming Q&A, experience sharing, market and weather, buying and selling, ...
  • 45. Women’s and Youth Empowerment Awareness campaigns for human rights
  • 46. 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?
  • 47. Thanks! For more info, visit http://awaaz.de