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Victorian Government launches new multilingual chatbot

The Victorian Government just rolled out the first multilingual chatbot, AskVic.

AskVic was developed by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to assist culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Victoria with access to information. This tool has the ability to bypass language barriers and ensure everyone receives essential information seamlessly.

AskVic is available in seven languages (aside from English) on WhatsApp, including Arabic, Filipino (Tagalog), Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. This way, AskVic can ensure cultural nuances are effectively reflected for more users seeking information.

Although initially developed to respond to COVID-19 questions, AskVic can now inform users with information regarding:

  • COVID-19 information, support, vaccinations, and restrictions
  • jobs and careers
  • housing
  • transport
  • social support
  • education, and
  • law and justice.

Additionally, AskVic was built from open source technology, including Rasa Conversational Artificial Intelligence and the BotFront authoring platform. Native speakers tested the algorithm to humanise the dialogue of AskVic with what speakers would expect in their native language.

AskVic is a huge step forward in breaking down the barriers to information access and will hopefully initiate similar developments in other Australian states and territories.

To take advantage of AskVic, users need to launch WhatsApp on any mobile phone and text “hello” to +61 480 032 278.

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