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‘Chatti’ chatbot designed to enrich cultural experiences

UK community connecting with Jamaican heritage

Published:Sunday | November 5, 2023 | 12:06 AMJanet Silvera - Senior Gleaner Writer
An avatar and Chatti.
An avatar and Chatti.
Keisha Swaby, author and dyslexia campaigner, shows off the results of using Chatti.
Keisha Swaby, author and dyslexia campaigner, shows off the results of using Chatti.
Chatti, as described by one of its developers, applied AI specialist Michael Ramsay, will allow seamless interaction in both patois and English.
Chatti, as described by one of its developers, applied AI specialist Michael Ramsay, will allow seamless interaction in both patois and English.
Khori Hyde, CEO of Jamaicans Inspired, emphasised that Chatti transcends mere technological innovation.
Khori Hyde, CEO of Jamaicans Inspired, emphasised that Chatti transcends mere technological innovation.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

The Jamaican colloquial term “chatty chatty” implies talkativeness, and has inspired one of the island’s most captivating tunes Chatty Chatty Mouth, which remains a favourite among music lovers.

This distinctive term has sparked an innovative development among Jamaicans in the United Kingdom, aiming to connect with the second, third and fourth diaspora generations. They have introduced an AI chatbot, tagged ‘Chatti’, designed to enrich the UK community’s connection with their cultural heritage.

Scheduled for an official launch next month, Chatti, as described by one of its developers, applied AI specialist Michael Ramsay, one of the founders of TalkAI Global, will allow seamless interaction in both patois and English.

Ramsay stated, “The platform serves as a rich repository of information, encompassing cultural events, historical knowledge, and offering business and investment guidance tailored to the needs of the Jamaican diaspora.” Speaking from his home in the UK, he emphasised that the chatbot will provide personalised, instant responses to user inquiries.

To test its capabilities, Sunday Entertainment clicked on https://www.talkaija.com/, asking the artificial intelligence advanced learning machine to define ‘chattie/chatty’. The response provided was: “Chatti, in the Jamaican content refers to a person who is talkative or someone who enjoys engaging in lengthy conversations. It is derived from Jamaican patois, and is often used in a casual, friendly manner.”

Significantly, the chatbot is positioned as a personal guide to exploring the heart and soul of Jamaica. It serves those seeking information on places to visit, local cuisine to try, or any questions about the island.

Ramsay highlighted, “It simplifies access to travel information, business regulations, and investment advice, connecting users to Jamaica’s opportunities and cultural wealth. It stands as a testament to the unifying power of technology, bridging distances and bringing the Jamaican community closer to their heritage with every interaction.”

Jamaicans residing in the UK are praising the initiative. Khori Hyde, CEO of Jamaicans Inspired, emphasised that this transcends mere technological innovation.

He said, “It is a cultural conduit. Chatti represents the spirit of our community—ever engaging, informative, and warmly familiar. We are thrilled to offer a piece of Jamaica that keeps our diaspora connected, informed, and proud,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Ramsay’s co-founder Strycen Williams is even more thrilled, as she witnesses the pioneering AI solutions with voice-enabled suite of applications. The collaboration with Jamaicans Inspired she shares showcases a shared vision for inclusive, technologically advanced customer engagement.

“Beyond their technological strides with ‘Chatti’, TalkAI Global further demonstrates its commitment to technological advancement and societal upliftment with FarmTalkAI. This state-of-the-art, voice-activated AI advisor has been generously developed and distributed for free to benefit Jamaican farmers,” Hyde said, revealing exclusive information to Sunday Entertainment.

This endeavour champions not only technological innovation but also underscores TalkAI Global’s commitment to fostering sustainable agriculture and supporting local communities in Jamaica, argued Hyde.

Ramsay’s innovative journey isn’t recent; it is rooted in strategic and management roles within Jamaica’s banking sector. His expertise in finance is broad and deep, marked by catalysing growth for large corporations through shrewd capital ventures and strategic market manoeuvres.

His work in investment banking, particularly, sharpened his acumen for identifying and nurturing potential, culminating in the successful listing of companies on the stock exchange, said Williams who is part of the success team.

As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption, Ramsay’s profile highlights that he foresaw an inflection point: the fast-tracking of AI across industries. With a strategic lens sharpened by his MBA from Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh Business School, he understood that the burgeoning influx of data and the shift towards online interfaces presented an unprecedented opportunity for artificial intelligence to become central to economic vitality and resilience.

In the midst of global change, Ramsay chose to pivot, leaving the security of his role as a corporate banking manager at Sagicor Bank to venture into the unknown. His quest for mastery led him to the UK, where he embarked on an MSc in Applied AI at Aston University. This wasn’t just a step towards academic enrichment but a leap into a field he believed held the key to transformative business solutions in a post-COVID world.

Ramsay’s journey into AI was as much about education as it was about application. He authored a book to demystify AI for business leaders, providing them with cases and an accessible entry point to understanding AI’s capabilities. This endeavour was a precursor to establishing TalkAI Global, a company rooted in the mission to consult and integrate AI solutions for businesses looking to navigate the new digital economy.

TalkAI Global emerged from his vision of a company that would not only offer state-of-the-art AI chatbots, but also provide a spectrum of AI-related services that cater to the unique needs of each client. Based in both the UK and Jamaica, TalkAI Global developed a suite of AI tools, including voice-activated chatbots capable of multi-language support, all built upon a foundation of customer-centric discovery and strategy.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com