THE Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) students have come up with a WhatsApp chatting artificial intelligence (AI) powered mobile number.
The AI powered mobile number dubbed ‘Rafiki AI’ offers 24 hours answers to key academic questions, among other information relating to the institute’s daily routine, aiming at enriching students with instant learning resources.
DIT Exhibitor, Ms Rehema Kitungulu who is also a student who co-programmed the chatting AI unveiled this to the ‘Sunday News’ yesterday at the 18th Higher Education, Science and Technology Exhibition organised by the Tanzania Commission for University (TCU) in Dar es Saalam.
She said the notable AI innovations by the DIT students is meant to catch up with global technological advancement, by making them key players.
Ms Katungulu said the ideas for the chatting AI was born amongst a group of five students who pursue Communication Technology and others studying Telecommunication, Computer Engineering and Computer System Technology.
“Rafiki AI came to existence after integrating the CHATGPT to Google server; to make the AI affordable we kept it available through WhatsApp, we want to ease learning,” she said.
DIT Lecturer, Dr Joseph Nyansiro who supervised his students to turn their innovation ideas into products, recounted that on April 2023, when CHATGPT was at its peak, he was approached by students claiming that they had been able to integrate ChHATGPT with WhatsApp, dubbing their new product as ‘Rafiki AI’.
Dr Nyansiro expounded that the original Rafiki AI was a chatbot that enable users to submit prompts to CHATGPT and receive answers via WhatsApp, a day later Rafiki AI went viral at DIT campus, and it was overwhelmed due to the excessive number of visitors.
“After being approached by these students, I listened to them very carefully; we had an in-depth discussion on their vision and mission, and I was satisfied with what they wanted to do; I helped them refine their project objectives and vision and build a roadmap,” he said.
The lecturer pointed out that DIT is committed to support talented individuals, both students and non-students, in achieving their dreams while working closely with other stakeholders, including the DataLabs in fulfilling the commitment.
DataLabs is a private cloud services provider based in Dar es Salaam, which has supported the RafikiAI project by providing virtual servers to host the project, Dr Nyansiro noted.
“Our project aims to enable corporate and government institutions in Tanzania to adopt and leverage the capabilities of digital technologies, for instance organisations can use generative AI tools to automate customer support, answer common queries and analyse data for sound decision-making,” he said.