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Capiche, the Smart Assistant for Refugees

September 20th, 2017

Europe is suffering a migrant’s crisis with reportedly up to 6.6million people waiting to cross to Europe from Africa alone. One of the main issues in the refugees situation is that communications is not always straight forwards, owing to the language barriers.

To remedy this situation, EIT Digital has launched a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) and crowd-based innovation, named “Capiche”. Originating from the European Refugee Information and Communication Service (ERICS), itself an EIT Digital Innovation Activity, it aims to support refugees with a mobile translation and search service, including an extremist and fake news filter solution.

Capiche will soon be available for mobile users. It will be the first AI-system on the market that integrates crowd-sourcing with further exploitation of the collected and interpreted data to enhance the machine-learning system.

Communication inside the European Union primarily depends on language and understanding each country’s cultural, economic and social nature. With growing numbers of refugees every day, there are thousands and thousands of persons facing huge hurdles. To solve such barriers Capiche provides real-time multilingual communication microservices based in the cloud, offered in major EU and refugee languages.

Stéphane Péan, Digital Cities Action Line Leader asserted: “Through AI algorithms and collaborative crowdsourcing, Capiche activity supports refugees with reliable translated services, improving hospitality in our European cities. Even outside this specific application, such a technology-based translation and information service has great potential for public sector providers and companies.”

Key advantages and use cases demonstrating direct benefit for refugees include:
• Real-time translation service: German, English, Arabic, Persian in 2017, and many more languages in 2018
• Fake-news check and extremist filter
• Legal document check
• Requests for information about regional locations and public services that can be sent to the chatbot-system in a foreign language

Refugees often face big challenges while trying to read and understand announcements, blogs, newspapers and FAQ documents in local languages. Not knowing the local language often leads to a loss of information, unresolved questions and slower integration. Domestic operators – websites, online-journals, public administration services – refrain from direct communication with refugees because they do not understand e.g. Arabic, and refugees hardly get access to basic information that is highly necessary. Therefore, Capiche’s major impact is on societal integration of refugees, as it enables mutual understanding and mediating of FAQ documents containing important information like accommodation availability, asylum procedures, culture matters or life style in the EU.

Capiche can reduce integration costs and speed-up time-to-job, while providing opportunities for services offered by public as well as private organizations in fields like transportation, healthcare, education, legal counselling, job offerings, or FMCG. All the accumulated data and content produced by refugees after analysis will be collected and translated to help match refugees’ demands of businesses or institutions and vice versa.

Tim Polzehl, Innovation Activity Leader of ERICS from TU Berlin: “Capiche will revolutionize the way we deal with multi-language content. Directing one’s content to speakers of other languages will be just a click away for everybody.”

The partners involved in this Innovation Activity are: Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbHTechnische Universität BerlinAalto University FoundationT-Systems Multimedia Solutions GmbH as well as Crowdee.

EIT Digital’s Innovation Activities deliver new products or services, create startups and spinoffs to commercialise outputs from projects, and encourage the transfer of technologies for market entry.