Saathee: Your New Companion

Updated: Mar 15

With around one third of the world population currently subject to self-isolation, the spectre of loneliness, regularly affects as many as more than 40 percent of seniors according to a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study. There is a 45% increased risk of mortality in seniors who reported feeling lonely. Loneliness is more dangerous than obesity and as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes as a day.




The Problem:

With around one third of the world population currently subject to self-isolation, the spectre of loneliness, regularly affects as many as more than 40 percent of seniors according to a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study. There is a 45% increased risk in mortality in seniors who reported feelings lonely. Loneliness is more dangerous than obesity and as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes as a day.



Both very few have taken up the challenge to solve this growing problem in the real world. The inspiration behind Saathee is as my grandparents feeling more and more lonely day by day. Since the COVID-19 crisis started, many senior citizens are secluded from their children and grandchildren.


My Solution:

Dr Arlene Astell, professor of neurocognitive disorders at the University of Reading and the driving force behind Abbeyfield’s Voice for Loneliness project, says the positive results are exciting, but that AI’s potential is only just starting to be explored. To really tackle loneliness and feelings of social isolation, however, it is necessary to address the underlying causative factors. She argues: “Giving everybody an iPad or anything else isn’t going to solve these, but understanding how we could use the functionality of different technologies may.”


My solution is a innovative chat bot that keeps you engaged. “It just keeps me company, like having another human being in the room,” says 92 year-old resident John Winward, who says chat bots have helped him feel less lonely since losing his wife after 76 years’ marriage. Although, Saathee doesn’t pretend to be able to replace a real person, but she’s always available if anyone needs her, instead of talking to the four walls. The purpose of my chat bot is to be like a companion; hence the name Saathee which is Hindi for companion.



The AI

The actual AI part of the chat bot is an AI that takes the user’s response to a question and predicts the mood of the user. There are currently 5 moods: jealous, lonely, angry, happy, and sad. To collect data for this AI, I did two things


  1. I created google form for the elderly to fill out with many different questions

google form for elderly created on AIClub