New AI chatbot will direct residents' feedback on municipal issues to agencies

The chatbot uses AI to predict the nature of the feedback based on the descriptions provided. PHOTOS: SMARTNATION.GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - Residents who spot issues in their estate such as littering will now find it easier to have their feedback directed to relevant agencies with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

With the OneService Chatbot, they will no longer need to classify their feedback into predetermined categories, like they have been doing with the existing OneService mobile application.

The Municipal Service Office (MSO) and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group announced the beta launch of the chatbot on Thursday (July 15).

The initiative is part of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which maps out how Singapore will develop and deploy AI solutions to transform the economy and improve lives.

Residents can start a conversation by texting the chatbot on +65 9821 9004 on WhatsApp, or @OneServiceSGBot on Telegram. The chatbot guides residents to provide the relevant information and uses AI to predict the nature of the feedback based on the descriptions provided.

For example, residents can type "There is a lot of litter near the lift lobby", and the chatbot will check if the user is reporting on "dirty area" or "litter". The user can confirm the category.

The feedback will then be automatically sent to the relevant agency based on text, geo-location and images submitted.

Residents can also speak to an agent if the chatbot is unable to accurately predict the feedback.

In a user trial conducted by MSO and the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), 450 participants found the chatbot easy to use.

They said it was also accurate in identifying the crux of the municipal issue.

MSO and GovTech have refined the chatbot based on users' feedback, such as retraining the AI model to improve the accuracy of predictions.

A design competition will be held from Thursday to Sept 14 for participants to submit an avatar of the OneService Chatbot along with a short character description.

The winner will have their submission adopted as the chatbot, and receive $600 worth of shopping vouchers.

Those interested can find out more at the Ministry of National Development website.

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