Sharing Stories with the help of AI
At Accenture, we have a strong commitment to corporate citizenship - as we strive to make the world a better place by joining projects with social significance - on a global scale. We bring expertise and experience together to develop innovative solutions tailored to the needs of clients, aside from their size, type, or location.
In 2019, we collaborated with one of Sweden’s biggest energy suppliers: Stockholm Exergi. We supported their social initiative and tackled one of the country’s biggest health concerns: loneliness amongst the elderly. With the use of Artificial Intelligence, Accenture Interactive developed a groundbreaking humanized-AI solution called Memory Lane - which later on received a Drum Award for most effective use of AI/Machine Learning. The project shows that technology can help connect people, boosting a more inclusive and socially sustainable Sweden.
How to use technology to tackle a challenge in Swedish society?
Sweden is considered to be one of the loneliest countries in the world. According to the latest Stockholm Country Council report, over 250.000 people experience acute loneliness, and among these sufferers, the elderly population is the most affected.
Having this in mind, Stockholm Exergi had one goal: using social outreach to boost the city of Stockholm as a warmer and better place. They reached out to Accenture Interactive to develop an Artificial Intelligence solution that could help improve thousands of lives of Stockholmers - all in the comfort of their own homes.
"We wanted to take a significant step towards making Stockholm a warmer place for all, and we knew Accenture could help us develop something that would create real impact."
Accenture followed up on extensive medical research and unveiled that loneliness can foster health problems, including depression and early-stage dementia. During the development of the software, additional insights drawn from studies also revealed that lonely participants had urges to share their stories.
The solution? An AI software that generates human-like conversations, including documenting and building up stories: Memory Lane was born.
AI with a human touch
The technology behind the Memory Lane project was initiated in 2017 by the Accenture Interactive Innovation Center in Sophia Antipolis. With the use of a responsive voice assistant, Memory Lane’s software can create unique connections with input shared by the user. The one-of-its-kind AI solution can ask relevant questions in return and creates emotive, meaningful, and human communication in return. Once Memory Lane captures a full discussion, the dialogue is then converted into both a book and a podcast - allowing it to be shared with the next generation - and creating a memorable experience.
“We not only wanted to develop something that could hold a human-like conversation with them (elderly), but also capture those memories so they didn’t end up untold.”
Memory Lane analyses conversations every day and creates a memory graph: a virtual and structured version of a person’s memory, where information is encoded and compiled into a graph data structure. This structure uses a hierarchical taxonomy, showcasing the correlation between this data and its history. The software then produces a summary of the conversation that can humanly re-tell a person’s story.
Life stories set on stone
After two years of development, we created the world’s first reverse-engineered voice assistant that can drive meaningful conversations. The voice assistant was installed in the homes of 101-years-old Ingegerd and Bjorn, a 78-years-old. It instantly sparked exciting conversations and brought back long-lost memories for both Ingegerd and Bjorn.
Stockholm Exergi - Memory Lane Björn
Christian Souche - Director at the Accenture Interactive Innovation Center - concludes: "The collaboration with Stockholm Exergi demonstrates that technology can contribute and connect generations, making society healthier. We want to open this concept and platform to everyone - to share their life stories, regardless of age, and continue to explore the future use cases for the software."