No internet or smartphone? This revolutionary AI-powered basic phone's got your back

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Web Desk
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This representational picture shows a guy walking past a display depicting AI. — AFP/File
This representational picture shows a guy walking past a display depicting AI. — AFP/File

Viamo, a Canada-based mobile phone service in Nigeria, has recently launched a revolutionary artificial intelligence (AI) service for the country that allows anyone to access the technology without the internet.

This service has helped individuals like Kehinde Olutubosun, a visually-impaired Nigerian geography and animal enthusiast, who previously struggled to find information because he has no smartphone, Reuters reported.

The service, which works like an AI chatbot, uses a traditional handset to tap into local mobile phone networks to send commands or requests for information through short message service (SMS) or voice calls.

It can easily be used by illiterate persons since it can be prompted by voice and is cost-effective.

Kehinde Olubotusun sits in his house in Alimosho local government district in Lagos, Nigeria February 23, 2024. — Reuters
Kehinde Olubotusun sits in his house in Alimosho local government district in Lagos, Nigeria February 23, 2024. — Reuters

"For people who are not that financially buoyant, they still have this opportunity to use even as little as 10 naira to ask lots of questions that will actually benefit them, I am so happy," said Olutubosun.

According to the company, the device, which was first launched in Zambia, targets the world's poorest and remotest communities and is being expanded to Pakistan, India and Tanzania.

Viamo is supported by development agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom, among others. '

Additionally, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) has partnered with Viamo to provide information on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tropical diseases, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene.