The United Nations Global Pulse is an initiative that focus on Big Data. The Pulse Lab Kampala, in Uganda has developed a prototype application that makes it possible to analyse in real time public discussions on the radio.
This tool is unique in that it applies speech technology in three Ugandan languages (Ugandan English,Luganda and Acholi) - through a collaboration with academics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa who taught computers these three languages.
In Uganda, there are over 250 FM radio stations and most of them are community radio stations. These stations have a popular phone-in shows where listeners call in and express themselves in discussions and opinions on a wide range of topics.
The tool has the possibility of detecting the trending topics within these discussions - similar to trending topics applied in most social media applications.
How does this work?
- Conversations are detected - The first phase was to enable machines to detect the language spoken over the radio. This was faciliated by working with language experts in the identified languages. In this way, what people say is detected by Pulse Lab Kampala through a small software.
- Topics of Interests - The tool translates the voices into text. The topics of interests that are being discussed that are related to the Global goals are automatically extracted by the tool.
- Real-time analysis of new data - 'a web interface shows in real-time what people say about a selected topic'.
This projects hinges on the voice recognition technology such as one used by Apple's Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Echo. This is the first time that this technology is applied within the developmental world in the area of radios.
About Pulse Lab Kampala.
Pulse Lab Kampala is established as an inter-agency initiative under the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Uganda. It contributes to the United Nations ‘Delivering as One’ process supporting joint programming, monitoring and evaluation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.More information; Pulse Lab Fact Sheet;