Pilot Phase – The Integreat Chatbot

29. November 2022

Some services, structures, and useful resources related to integration are difficult for newly immigrated people in Germany to find and understand. Local services and information are often not centralized or available in multiple languages. Thus, even basic information provision is often insufficient to enable immigrants to integrate and participate in society.

As a solution to this gap, we have developed the digital integration platform `Integreat‘. It offers immigrants and refugees easy access to multilingual information. To further facilitate this access, we are currently working on exploring the possible use of a chatbot as part of the Integrate app. For this pilot project, we partnered with the city of Munich and, with financial support from the Postcode Lottery, developed a multilingual bot to complement the Integreat app in Munich.

What exactly is the chatbot?

A chatbot is a self-learning, machine-based chat partner that can be contacted via a messenger (WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, etc.) or via a pop-up window on a website, for example, and responds automatically. In our case, representing the city of Munich.

Jointly with CLEAR Global, we are developing chatbot technology. The goal is to test whether a chatbot is an effective tool for conveying information to refugees and immigrants. The chatbot draws its “knowledge” from the information available in Integreat, which is searched by artificial intelligence (AI). The bot responds if the AI finds information that matches the question asked in the chat with the highest possible probability. In practice, the chatbot is accessible to users in two places. It will be available as an additional chat window in the City of Munich’s web app and, in parallel, via the Telegram messenger. Users can then ask questions in their own words. The AI then recognizes the question and provides the appropriate answer.

For the pilot project, the bot will be available in three different languages: Romanian, English and Farsi. These languages have been primarily evaluated in advance and are particularly relevant for the use of the technology. The bot will be developed on the open-source platform Rasa together with the “NLP framework” Haystack. As components, Haystack filters the existing information in the Integreat app and extracts the correct answers from the text.

Where can I find the chatbot, when will it go online?

Starting Monday, October 03, 2022, the chatbot will be activated in a one-month test phase in the Integreat app Munich. It will then be available via the web app of the Integreat app Munich www.integreat.app/muenchen

German Postcode Lottery supports chatbot project

We would like to take this opportunity to express our special thanks to the Deutsche Postcode Lottery and its participants. Thanks to the funding of our non-profit project, we are able to realize the idea around the chatbot and thus decisively expand and improve our offer to refugees.