Sotebotti: A peer network for social service and healthcare professionals

Are you involved in developing services around health and wellbeing? Are you interested in the potential of AI-assisted digital assistants to support your operations? Have you asked yourself whether chatbots and other robotics solutions could be useful in your work?

Join a network of social service and healthcare professionals to learn more and share information about the current state of the art in robotics and AI automation. The most important task of the network is to share among the interested parties information about how to implement and support bot projects and about the role that AI can play in service delivery.

The plan for 2022 is to intensify collaboration among the network partners, to create an information resource for social service and healthcare organisations weighing whether to implement bot technologies, and to work together with the wellbeing services counties, the network of educational institutions and the national AuroraAI programme.


What is AI?

The artificial intelligence (AI) behind robotics does not replace humans but rather supports their actions. For that reason, it might be more appropriately called augmented intelligence. It allows humans to work more effectively and to dedicate personnel resources to tasks which require a more case-by-case evaluation and are more meaningful for employees. Bots are best suited to routine tasks that do not require analysis or interpretation. AI agents have an unlimited capacity to learn things, but in order to learn, they require data for training and testing purposes.

What is conversational AI?

Put simply, conversational AI is a human-machine interface operated with text and speech. AI is trained in the language used by humans.

What is robotic process automation?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a technology that can be used to automate simple, routine tasks in various processes.

Background and operations of the network

The Sotebotti network was created in 2020 as part of the Hyteairo programme, which is centred around the use of AI and robotics in the wellbeing and health sectors. The network seeks to promote the use of conversational AI in social services and healthcare and to enhance the efficacy of social and health services as well as to boost cost effectiveness by means of cross-sectoral partnerships.

According to a report produced by the Hyteairo programme, conversational AI is used little in the Finnish social service and healthcare sectors. The few applications that have been deployed consist primarily of virtual customer service assistants used to provide general advice and guidance to clients and patients. Also, efforts to develop AI-based solutions have been disconnected and driven by the needs of individual organisations.

The report provided an overview of the deployed solutions and sketched out a strategy for realising the potential of the technology at a national level. The report was compiled by Accenture and commissioned by the Hyteairo programme.

The Sotebotti network is coordinated by Kela

The Hyteairo programme wrapped up in 2021 but the Sotebotti network remains active. Kela has coordinated the network since the beginning of 2022.

The task of the network is to support communication efforts focusing specifically on AI and its role in the provision of services and to allay concerns over the use of bots. To a significant extent, the communication also has to do with the exchange and dissemination of information on the current state of conversational AI. The network uses its own dedicated communication channels.

There is a sense among network members that the work done in the Hyteairo programme was useful in many ways. The members have recognised a need to discuss not only issues related to conversational AI but also robotic process automation, which is an essential part of service processes and efforts to improve them.

Participants see the network as having a positive impact because it offers an opportunity to contribute to new legislation and the development of bots. The network helps the participants to see things from the customers’ perspective, realise the diversity in their circumstances, and understand the many different purposes for which bots can be used. The network can also serve to raise awareness of how to decrease failure demand for services.

Finally, the development of a conversational AI at a national level integrates well with ongoing development projects. The national AuroraAI programme offers a framework for creating the network and developing it further as a joint effort as well as for learning as a shared experience.

How to join the network

The Sotebotti network is primarily hosted on the Howspace platform, which all network members have access to. A variety of different workshops, information sessions, discussions and other activities are arranged over the year. The working language is Finnish.

It you have not yet joined Howspace or the Sotebotti network, click the below link to register or use the QR code to open the registration form. You will receive an invitation by email usually within the week. If you do not see the message, check your spam folder.

Join Sotebotti-network!