AI in your Pocket: From Ride-hailing to Your Social Feed

May 14 2024.

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Imagine Kavindya, a busy entrepreneur in Colombo, stuck in afternoon rush hour traffic. Traditionally, flagging down a cab could take ages. But with a quick tap on his phone and the help of an AI-powered ride-hailing app, Kavindya secures a car in minutes, allowing him to reach his meeting on time. This is just one example of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quietly transforming lives across Sri Lanka… 

Forget about flying cars and robot butlers! Artificial intelligence is transforming our lives in many amusing ways. A recent study found that 75% of Sri Lankan citizens have started to use AI-powered ride-hailing apps to get around. From piloting traffic to recommending social media content, AI is quietly working BTS (Behind the Scenes), making our lives easier and more personalised at our fingertips. But what exactly Ai is doing in Sri Lanka, and how will it shape the future? 

1. Getting Around with AI (Ride-hailing Apps)
Amidst the bustling city life, where the disharmony of engines and horns fills the air, we often find ourselves stranded, eagerly awaiting the arrival of a taxi amidst the urban hustle and bustle. Ride-hailing apps like PickMe and Uber influence AI to connect passengers with drivers in a more convenient manner using complex algorithms that consider real-time traffic data, driver locations, and rider demand to optimise pick-up times and pricing. This AI-powered approach makes sure that's a win-win situation for both riders (faster pick-ups, fairer fares) and drivers (increased earning opportunities). 

2. Chatbots (Your Virtual Assistant)
Have you ever interacted with a helpful online chat window while browsing a bank website or contacting customer service on Facebook Messenger? Those are likely chatbots powered by AI.  These digital assistants can answer frequently asked questions, provide basic customer service support, and even schedule appointments, freeing up human representatives for more complex issues.
Benefits for Sri Lankan banks:

  • 24/7 Availability: Chatbots can answer basic questions and provide support anytime, even outside regular banking hours.
  • Improved Efficiency: Chatbots can handle a high volume of simple inquiries, freeing up human representatives for more complex issues.
  • Multilingual Support: In Sri Lanka, where Sinhala and Tamil are widely spoken, some chatbots might offer multilingual support to cater to a broader audience.

3. Social Media (A Tailored Feed)
Have you ever scrolled through your social media feed and felt like it was eerily good at showing you content you'd enjoy?  That's thanks to AI algorithms that analyse your online activity, including your likes, shares, and browsing history. These algorithms personalise your feed by recommending content similar to what you've engaged with in the past. While this can be helpful for discovering new things you might enjoy, it can also create "filter bubbles" where you're only exposed to information that confirms your existing beliefs. 

4. Expanding AI Integration in Sri Lanka
There are many courses and academic degrees available to students to get themselves qualified and help develop their skills. Likewise, in Sri Lanka too we can expect a smart system like:

  • Precision Agriculture 
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • E-learning Platforms

5. LinkedIn Unlocked!

LinkedIn is elite for professionals, but for young minds who are still exploring careers, it might feel, well, not very fun. Here’s how LinkedIn can be more engaging for a younger demographic:

  • Impressive Profiles:  Award badges for completing profile sections make building an online presence more exciting. You can even customise your resume here!
  • Your Career Discovery: You can access free assessments to help young learners like yourself identify strengths, interests, and potential career paths. This way, you gain a clearer understanding of who you are and where you fit in.
  • AI-powered Mentors and Networking: Imagine a young robotics enthusiast matched with an AI engineer mentor – that's the power of AI in connecting young learners with inspiring professionals! Yes, you can even connect with people who have the same interests and passion as you!

AI is no longer futuristic – it's a present-day reality that's already impacting our lives in Sri Lanka from ride-hailing apps to social media recommendations. As AI continues to evolve, the possibilities and opportunities you are going to have are endless. By implementing this technology responsibly and ethically, Sri Lanka can power AI to address challenges, create new opportunities, and drive progress across various sectors.


Hafsa Rizvi

Hafsa Rizvi is a Digital Media Associate at The Creative Congress with a passion for software engineering. While currently working in the field of digital media, Hafsa is pursuing a BA in English in preparation for a future career as a software engineer.


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