Let's Meet MISSI! She’s Mississippi’s First Artificial Chatbot.


Discover what this artificial intelligent chatbot can do for you.

Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

Before introducing MISSI (Government of Mississippi State Chatbot), let me give you a brief background on AI Chatbots so that you can understand the importance of her better.

Chat boxes are not toys as they sound. Instead, they are used by business and government organizations for important client and citizen services. According to Gartner, by 2022, 70% of white-collar workers will interact with conversational platforms daily.

In another Gartner report, by 2022, $3.9 trillion projected AI-derived business value growth could occur. In addition, a Juniper Research report expects $8 billion projected business cost savings from chatbots by 2022. According to CNBC, 75% to 90% projected percentage of queries to be handled by bots by 2022.

Another interesting forecast from Juniper Research points out that banks can automate up to 90% of their customer interaction using chatbots by 2022. One of the reasons for chatbots get attention from business organizations is financial gain. For example, according to a CNBC report, companies can save $0.70 per customer interaction.

I have been designing and working with chatbots as part of my AI (Artificial Intelligence) projects for several years. Chatbots аrе intelligent соmрutеr programs that саn mimic humаn conversations bу undеrѕtаndіng the соntеxt of thе message. Nаturаl Lаnguаgе Prосеѕѕіng (NLP) that is a mасhіnе learning tесhnоlоgу makes thіѕ capability happen.

NLP аllоwѕ соmрutеrѕ tо receive іnрut in the form of voice оr tеxt from humans, analyze the text or voice, and then rеѕроnd lоgісаllу.

AI chаtbоtѕ саn соmmunісаtе with intelligence. Cоgnіtіvе соmрutіng algorithms can help this. AI chatbots can recognize uѕеrѕ' nееdѕ bаѕеd оn рrеvіоuѕ contacts.

Chatbots аrе useful fоr answering сlіеnt questions. If thе сhаtbоt dеtеrmіnеѕ that іt is unаblе tо рrоvіdе ассерtаblе ѕеrvісе tо thе соnѕumеr, іt can refer queries to humаn agents. Allоw іntеllіgеnt, ѕеlf-іmрrоvіng bоtѕ tо make іnіtіаl соntасt with leads 24 hours a dау, seven dауѕ a week. Live аgеntѕ wіll contact high value, rеѕроnѕіvе leads, еnhаnсіng ѕаlеѕ effectiveness.

Chatbots are used as virtual аѕѕіѕtаntѕ оr customer care tооlѕ in many business organizations. They can lеаrn and аdарt thеіr language and gеnеrаl intelligence. The mоrе thеу іntеrасt аnd соnvеrѕе wіth humans the more they learn using dеер lеаrnіng algorightms.

Here is a diagram showing how a chat works, as provided by Garner.

Image from Gartner website

After this brief background, let me introduce the Government of Mississippi State Chatbot called MISSI.

Interestingly MISSI is personified with female gender identity. The government website mentions that she’s Mississippi’s first Artificial Conversational chatbot and is here to help with your questions 24/7. She can direct you to the appropriate state agency, send you the link to an applicable online service, and even help you through your online payment.

When you click on this link, MISSI starts chatting with you. Here is a screen capture for starting a conversation with MISSI.

screen capture the Government of Mississippi State Chatbot

If MISSI does not understand your question or does not have an answer, it can provide some relevant information from its database. For example, I deliberately asked an obscure question to confuse her. Despite all, she handled it well by providing relevant links.

Screen capture of the Government of Mississippi State Chatbot

When I clicked on the COVID-19 link, it instantly provided me with available information, as shown in this screen capture.

Image screen capture of the Government of Mississippi State Chatbot

MISSI is integrated with Amazon’s Alexa. As a result, you can take hands-free conversations with voice-controlled commands, as mentioned on the site.

Mississippi’s integration with Alexa Voice Services provides MyMS users with renewal reminders, popular ms.gov data, state facts, and more – instantly. All you have to do is ask.

You can learn about Alexa integration by connecting this Amazon site with government information.

This Amazon site provides the following guidance:

With ms.gov’s "Ask Mississippi" skill, Alexa can find information located on ms.gov quickly. All you have to do is ask. After you enable the skill, try asking Alexa when your driver's license expires (requires a myMS account) or how to renew your hunting and fishing license.
• To interact best with Alexa, you’ll need to set up a MyMS profile on ms.gov.
• If you don’t have a
MyMS profile, set one up at ms.gov.
Once enabled, say, "Alexa, ask Mississippi...
• To give me the contact information of the Department of Revenue.
• When does my drivers license expire?
• To give me a random fact.

By Downloading our Alexa skill now, you can start asking questions in this screen capture.

Image screen capture from the Government of Mississippi State Chatbot

MISSI is also integrated with Google Home.

What else can you do with MISSI?

MyMS is where you need to get more information about alerts. This feature encourages users to set and receive reminders and alerts for services vital to them, opening communication channels between the state and its citizens. Along with important personalized reminders, MyMS allows users to elect to receive alerts, including amber, silver, and important weather alerts.

For Apple users, there are even more helpful features.

Apple users can connect with the ms.gov support team in their iMessage app. In addition, they can get the information they need on their iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, which makes connecting with the Mississippi government as easy as texting their favorite people.

The messaging feature is impressive. Instead of waiting on hold to ask a question, you can simply get a text message instead. Then, if you’re too busy to reply, you can get back to the conversation when convenient. You can easily find and start conversations from your browser, Search, and by using Apple’s Siri.

It is a powerful way for ms.gov to connect and engage with citizens securely. Here are some sample questions that you can ask Alexa.

Screen capture from the Government of Mississippi State Chatbot

Excitingly, you can take a virtual tour of Mississippi state by clicking on this link. The site provides essential information to get you started in this virtual tour of the state.

Image screen capture from the Government of Mississippi State Chatbot

Ms.gov will continue being citizen-focused in its engagement by enhancing communication channels between users and their specific needs.

You can learn more about chatbots and discover the top ten most innovative chatbots in the world from this YouTube video.

Thank you for reading my perspectives.

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I write about important and valuable life lessons. My ultimate goal is to delight my readers. My content aims to inform and engage my readers. Truth, diversity, collaboration, and inclusiveness are my core values. I am a pragmatic technologist, scientist, postdoctoral academic and industry researcher focusing on practical and important life matters for the last four decades.


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