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How do you use AI in the fight for women’s rights, Ms Goswami?

According to the UN, the practice affects more than 200 million women worldwide, especially in Asia and Africa: young girls are subject to genital mutilation at the hands of their parents or relatives – a violent ritual that often causes them suffering for the rest of their lives.

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  • Text: Jan Berndorff
Art graphic on women's rights with a potrait photo of Priya Goswami
Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild

PRIYA GOSWAMI

The Indian documentary film maker and start-up founder Priya Goswami was granted a German Chancellor Fellowship in Berlin in 2018. In 2021, she took part in a Humboldt Communication Lab.

The German Chancellor Fellowship
Humboldt Communication Lab

Female genital mutilation is not usually talked about. It’s a taboo practised in the name of tradition. The Indian entrepreneur Priya Goswami wants to break this taboo with a mobile app: the first point of contact is a chatbot – “a kind of training partner to practise conversations for later in real life,” says Goswami. It is not only that many of the girls affected wanted to make clear to their families just how much suffering mutilation caused them. Often, Goswami explains, family members didn’t dare to express their doubts about the tradition to one another either in order to possibly abandon it.

Developed together with her 20-strong team, Goswami’s mobile app is the product of ten years’ experience working with victims. They called the app “Mumkin”, which is Hindi for “possible”. We fed the AI thousands of entire conversations we had, so it can now basically answer any question it’s asked,” Goswami explains. Rather like Siri on an iPhone – only Mumkin doesn’t talk but holds proper written conversations and adopts the role of a mother talking to her daughter, for example, or a father being addressed by his wife. Users can thus practise how to counter common arguments and clichés. And Mumkin also offers advice on how to proceed.

In the future, says Goswami, she and her team want to expand Mumkin beyond the cultural context of South Asia and embrace other aspects of sexualised violence, as well. And they want to make the Al even more intelligent so that it can develop its reaction patterns itself. 

Symbolic picture: Art graphic on women's rights
KEYWORDS: women, empowerment, ai. This image was created to fit the text by the AI programme Wombo Dream.
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