The United Nations Bot That’s Helping to Keep the World Fed
OCTOBER 16, 2017
Around the globe, an estimated 842 million people do not have enough food to be healthy.
That’s one person for every eight in the world. And in developing countries, one in every six children is medically underweight, which amounts to over 100 million children around the world. In these countries, more than one third of all child deaths are related to hunger.
Founded in 1961, the United Nation’s World Food Programme (UNWFP) works in over eighty countries, providing emergency relief, humanitarian support, food assistance, resilience building, and more. In order to provide timely services to people in need, however, the UNWFP relies on collecting accurate on-the-ground data. In the past, this has meant deploying as many people, volunteers and staff, to locales to interview and assess. As you can imagine, this tactic is not only expensive and timely, but it can also be dangerous.
And in many developing countries, access to internet, cellular connection, or even mail can be difficult, if not impossible to come by, making delivering any information collected an almost super-human feat. When individuals are in desperate need, timing is everything and the waiting game can be cruel.
Today, the UNWFP has solved this issue by automating the collection of critical data with the help of voice and phone bots that facilitate dynamic calls and in multiple languages. In doing so, not only have they impacted the number of people they can quickly get relief and services too, but they have also relieved the burden of funding and are now capable of using more donations to go to actually providing relief, rather than simply paying for information to be received.
But the bots being used are doing more than just mindlessly collecting data. Thanks to savvy AI, these bots are able to also receive contextual data, making the information even more meaningful and helpful to the UNWFP. In remote areas, these bots are able to collect important data, such as living conditions and quality of life, getting an accurate picture of precisely what type of aid is needed and when.
More effective and efficient than ever, the automated bots are allocating more money towards life-saving efforts, not administration. And, thanks to the depth of information being collected, a bigger picture is being revealed in areas around the world, allowing the UNWFP to do more than just provide aid, but they are now able to better understand the underlying cause of crisis, providing services that actually help ensure communities are sustainable.
As these bots become more intelligent, organizations like UNWFP will be able to continue to improve their work, doing more than ever to solve huge issues, like global hunger, once and for all.