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Mildred Mehetibel, the Chatbot That Speaks Kriol

Jul 20, 2023

Mildred Mehetibel, the Chatbot That Speaks Kriol

An intrepid Belizean woman has entered the arena of artificial intelligence with a unique invention. Chatbots are described as software applications that mimic human conversation through text or voice interaction. The first chatbot was developed in the 1960’s by an MIT professor. It was called ELIZA. Since then, numerous, more advance chatbots have been launched and are being used in a number of electronic devices. Of recent, Belizean Adriani Coleman launched Mildred Mehetibel, a chatbot that speaks Kriol. News Five’s Paul Lopez tells us more in tonight’s installment of Belize On Reel.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Alexa, Siri, Bixby and Google Assistant are all examples of conversational artificial intelligence chatbots.   One Belizean woman and her AI chatbot, Mildred Mehetibel, has been creating a lot of local buzz. Adriani Coleman is a Digital Learning and Development Specialist.

Adriani Coleman

Adriani Coleman, Digital Learning & Development Specialist

“I was recently AI certified and I decided that I wanted to try to create a bot, build a bot. So, I went to explore what bots were out there, because I had some ideas of what I can build and of course most of what I thought were already built. So I thought, let me try to build something that has not been built before and it led me to think something Belizean and I said I would like to build a Belizean AI bot.”

To use the chatbot software, the user must simply enter poe.com/yubestBELIZEit on your search engine. Upon gaining access, questions can be posed using the chat box. Those questions can be written in Kriol and English. Mildred’s responses will always be in the Kriol language.

Adriani Coleman

“You can ask Mildred anything Belizean. I’ve gotten tons of screenshots of questions people have asked, from boledo, weh mih barrel deh, politics, the garobo, anything Belizean, you can ask it, fry jack recipe, cow foot soup, I have seen all of it. The bot is built on what is called the open AI which is a system that is built with all this information. It has all this information from the internet already. I created the bot on the shoulders of this giant. So anything you ask itit can respond. It will look into the database or anything I have prompted it to look at and it will give the responses from there.”

Of course, Mildred can respond to the age old Belizean debate, should ketchup go on garnaches? Coleman’s chatbot also has vast knowledge on Belizean music and musicians. And, it continues to learn as users interact with it.

Adriani Coleman

“The machines are learning from us as much as we are learning from them. That is what AI really is, that machines and computer programs are now learning from humans based on our interactions. So, the more we interact with bots, the more it learns about Belize or how to respond to the way Belizeans speak. It is learning all of that when we interact with it.  We have to think about the ethics of using it. For example when I created the bot, I prompted it not to say vulgar words. I prompted it not to curse or discuss certain controversial topics because I don’t feel like I want that to be the basis of the bot.”

This is the first iteration of the software. But, the possibilities for Mildred Mehetibel are endless. It can become useful in the classroom setting and the service industry. Coleman encourages users who try her chatbot to follow her creation on the websiteso that it can gain traction and to click like on the interactions to inform Midlred that her responses are accurate.

Adriani Coleman

“I would like to see how others use it in different context. For me it is open to use. At this point I just thought it was fun, amazing to see how it responded and I like when people interact with it in the different ways and the way they use, I really like to see that.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.