India Is Using Artificial Intelligence to Enable Voice-Activated Mobile Payments

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Using artificial intelligence (AI), India is expanding digital payments to rural areas.

While India’s Universal Payments Interface (UPI) is already used by over 350 million people, the Financial Times (FT) reported Saturday (Aug. 19) that it has had problems expanding into the country’s more rural regions due to restricted internet access and lower literacy levels.

As a result, the Reserve Bank of India has proposed “conversational” payments, which would enable UPI users to offer spoken transfer instructions on their phones, which would be processed using AI-based speech recognition.

According to the story, the service would first be available in English and Hindi before expanding to other languages, and it will be powered by open-source AI language technology developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

According to the central bank, clients who do not have internet access will be able to perform transactions via near field communication technology, allowing for “retail digital payments in situations where internet [or] telecom connectivity is weak or not available.”