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Meet Sophie Bot, an App conversant with the birds and bees

Artificial Intelligent mobile application answers questions from teenagers regarding sexual and reproductive health

Sandra Wekesa @andayisandra

Sex-education continues to be a sensitive topic among many households, with many parents tiptoeing around the subject. The debate on whether to initiate a conversation on sex with children has never been solved. As a result, many children grow up afraid to ask their parent’s various questions.

Most parents view sex as a taboo topic, one that requires a lot of confidence to pull. Negligence from parents regarding sex education, however, often leads many teenagers into a pit. Sex education at school is seldom enough and teenagers are left with many unanswered questions.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a total of 28,932 girls aged between 10 and14 are impregnated with 349,465 girls aged between 15 and19 falling pregnant between July 2016 and June this year.

Automated conversations

The good news is, Irving Amukasa and his team of three, have been able to bridge the gap between parents and children and children and their peers, through the invention of Sophie Bot, a digital Artificial Intelligent App that answers sexual and reproductive health questions.

The team discovered that society is unwilling to talk about sexual health, hence introduced chat robots, which automate conversations and offer anonymity and refrain from judgement.

The team comprising Irving, the CEO and co-founder, Derrick Mureithi, a co-founder who updates and maintains the tech App, Beverly Mutindi who is the treasurer, and John Nzau who doubles up as the leader of social media, invented and jumpstarted in 2016.

“When I launched the digital App, I did not know it would be popular. My main aim was to make sure that teens got answers to their questions. It was important that they be able to ask any question without fear of being found out,” says Irving.

Currently, they have many competitors, but because their answers are immediate, they have been able to beat the pack. Availability of the App, both on Android and Apple store gives them a competitive advantage.

“Considering that some of our team members are still at the University, it is easier for us to relate with the challenges teenagers face. This helps us retain users,” he adds.

Sophie bot has about 400 active users and ever since their first version went on play store in August 2016, they have received more than 30,000 questions from more than 3,000 users from all over the world.

Monetising the App

They hope to scale up their start-up into a company that uses AI to answer questions on sexual health. “We are monetising Sophie Bot by offering her customers support automation for business in sexual health,” says Irving. A few years from now they hope to cut across all health aspects.

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