AI powered Chatbots could help reduce domestic violence

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A group of tech experts is developing a new artificially intelligent chatbot to help victims experiencing domestic violence easier access to justice system and counseling program, amidst the growing problem in Thailand.

A project called “Police Noi” or a little cop is one out of ten projects under dtac’s Plik Thai campaign, which was created by dtac to reflect its visions of empowering societies via the use of digital technology.

According to the data from Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation (WMPMF), it showed that domestic violence situation in Thailand is worsening dramatically, especially size of problem and forms of violence. The study found that there were a total of 466 crime news reports related to domestic abuse, with 83% of murder.

Jadej Chaowilai, director of WMPMF, said that most of incidents were originated and physically abused by men, triggered by sexual jealousy and accusations of infidelity. At the same time, women were also involved with homicides due to their suffering from being victimized by physical and mental abuse in the past.

“Domestic violence in Thailand is fundamentally dominated by the myth of androcentric culture, which locally refers to women are belong to men. This reflects the misconception of gender inequality in the nation,” said Mr.Jadej.

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In addition, the areas of domestic violence were mostly taken place in Bangkok, where has socio-economic disparities and individualism, resulting in pressure and competency, which could fuel domestic violence eventually.

As a result of the patriarchal prioritization of privacy in home, fear, shame and social stigma surrounding family violence contributed to the hardship of accessing justice and counselling system.

“Safe space that offer emphatic and supportive counseling program is a critical mechanism to end domestic violence, in which include more personnel and a better attitude on human security and emergency care for victims of family abuse,” said Mr.Jadej.

Pol.Lt.Col. Peabprom Mekhiyanont, police inspector at the Investigation and Inquiry Affairs and project owner of Police Noi, said violence against women in Thailand is on the rise annually.

Statistics from the collaborative report conducted by Thailand Institute of Justice and University of Cambridge indicated that a woman is raped every 15 minutes, resulting in 30,000 rape cases a year.

Although in reality, a mere 4,000 cases are reported and only 2,400 cases result in the arrest of offenders.

The figures showed a serious problem in accessing justice system from victims. They mostly chose to keep silent as the matter was viewed a privacy in home.

Gender bias in legal systems as well as social and economic barriers are also challenges for women’s access to justice system. As a consequence of these challenges, it resulted in a far less number of prosecution with only 696 cases in 2013.

“The effective counseling system, like mobile application and chatbot, will play a critical role in reducing domestic violence and optimizing the access to justice system of victims. And this is the origin of social project against domestic violence called a little cop or police noi,” said Pol.Lt.Col. Peabprom.

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Winn Voravuthikunchai, Group data scientist for Telenor Asia, said AI is simply considered of commercialization, it actually has a strong commitment to social good.

People seem to be more honest in sharing sensitive information with a machine than a person because they don’t worry about being judged. This means that AI gets more accurate data to provide more meaningful recommendations. It also has no limitation on human workforce with 24/7 service offerings.

Based on his rich experience in developing AI-powered technology locally and internationally, robot function effectively in collecting and classifying information with no emotional judgement, which is a huge different from human interaction.

Venting to an anonymous algorithm will lift the fear of judgement, allowing victims to release their stress, anxiety and depression.

A research conducted by the UK based advertising agency Mindshare in collaboration with IBM Watsan and Goldsmith University found that people are inclined to trust chatbots with sensitive information and they are open to receiving advice from these AI services.

He has also been running his own personal social project called “Botnoi, which is aimed at promoting and introducing the use of robot in a friendly approach. Surprisingly, there are more than 1 million subscribers, reflecting the growing interaction between humans and robots.

“This game-changing initiative is a big step of Thailand for social project by adopting state of the art technology to solve social problems effectively,” said Mr.Winn.