We have become obsessed with the idea that anything made in the West (or China) can be made in India. As the government tries to control more of the news and information that its citizens have access to, technology is making it possible to do so under the make in India brand.
Warning: Proceed no further if you are allergic to sarcasm.
After coming up with FAU-G to rival PUBG and TakaTak to replace TikTok, the minds at India’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru, have aimed high and tried to replace Siri. They’ve created NaMo, an artificial intelligence system that you can download on your phone. It does everything that Siri is supposed to do, but most importantly it gives you answers only from government-approved sources.
If you don’t want to download the software on your phone you can buy it as a Bluetooth speaker too. It is available only in only orange colour or as the makers describe it ‘saffron orange’. Also, the software only understands one language, Hindi. There’s no plan to integrate other languages.
One of the unique features of the software is that actual people voice it. Yes, all the mimicry artists who lost their jobs have been allowed to put their talents towards ‘more useful activities’, as the makers explained.
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There are some drawbacks to the software. Firstly it doesn’t seem to be able to give you any information that is not 50-60 years old. If you ask it to give you the daily headlines, it will show you pictures of peacocks. And for some reason every time it lags, it blames Nehru for it.
But that’s not the real problem. NaMo recently came up with a YoGi update. It senses when you are around a Muslim person or if you have a Muslim person at home and turns on by itself and yells “GO BACK TO PAKISTAN!”. If you are a woman asking NaMo for directions after 8 PM, it will scold you for not being at home already. It then goes on to say that you are responsible for anything that will happen to you now.
The makers of NaMo regularly apologise for everything the YoGi update did. But they refuse to fix it or come up with anything better. NaMo can also be linked to your Aadhar card. They say that is not compulsory but it makes the software work better.
We were too scared to actually try it. For good reason too. We tried to register some of our complaints on the app but we got a bunch of passive-aggressive emails which called us illiterate, anti-technology and anti-NaMo. But the email also said that they value our feedback and would love to hear more from us.
If you still want to download NaMo on your phone, you can do so. Actually, they said it is available online, but if you actually go to look for it you will not be able to find it. You have a better chance of downloading NaMo if you know someone who already has it and shares it with you.
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