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Harnessing the Power of Generative AI for the Information and Referral Industry

The first in a series of articles about exciting new opportunities using Artificial Intelligence to help people in need.

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly prevalent in our lives. But what exactly is generative AI, and how is it different from other types of AI? Generative AI, which powers ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing Copilot, and other tools, is a type of artificial intelligence that can create new content, such as text, images, and music, by learning patterns from existing data. Unlike other AI systems, which are often designed for specific tasks, generative AI has the ability to generate diverse and creative outputs, making it a valuable tool in a variety of industries. In particular, when used properly it is very good at considering, evaluating and improving written and spoken language.

One industry that can greatly benefit from generative AI is Information and Referral (I&R). This sector connects people in need with vital services and resources, helping them navigate challenges like housing, food insecurity, and healthcare. Organizations like Inform USA provide guidance and best practices to I&R organizations who maintain comprehensive databases of available services and offering referrals to those in need. I&R is extremely language-intensive, making it an idea place to apply generative AI. From the records in resource databases, to public websites about services in the community, and the conversations by voice, chat and text between help seekers and I&R specialists, everything is happening with language.

Generative AI can significantly enhance the I&R industry by improving the accuracy and efficiency of its services. For example, Yanzio offers innovative products that utilize generative AI to streamline data management and improve the quality of referrals. It can apply your style guide, taxonomy customizations, and industry best practices to your resource database to greatly improve quality and consistently. Their technology can help I&R organizations maintain up-to-date information on local services, ensuring that people receive accurate and relevant referrals.

By incorporating Yanzio’s products into iCarol, which is widely used in the I&R industry, organizations can benefit in several ways. The integration, achieved through an API, allows for seamless data sharing between the two systems. This leads to improved data quality, as the AI helps identify and correct outdated or incorrect information. It also improves referrals by matching people with services that best meet their needs. Additionally, the integration reduces costs and time spent on data maintenance, freeing up staff to focus on helping those in need.

However, it’s important to ensure the safe use of AI. Yanzio takes this seriously by focusing on AI safety through transparency, reliability, and robust testing. Their systems are designed to handle sensitive information responsibly, which is crucial when dealing with data in the I&R industry. Yanzio only uses AI vendors that do not train their AI on Yanzio client data and who employ strong security systems. This emphasis on safety ensures that AI technology is used ethically and securely, protecting both organizations and the individuals they serve.

Incorporating Yanzio’s products into the iCarol system ultimately enhances the effectiveness of I&R organizations, benefiting both the organizations themselves and the people they serve. By using generative AI to improve data quality, referrals, and efficiency, these organizations can better fulfill their mission of helping those in need.

To learn more about Yanzio and iCarol, join us for the iCarol Customer Conference just before the upcoming Inform USA conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Yanzio and iCarol staff will be co-presenting these new capabilities.


Neil McKechnie

Neil is the founder and CEO of Yanzio - building powerful AI-based cloud software tools and services for Information and Referral (I&R). Neil is also the original founder and Chief Technology Officer of iCarol. Having built major I&R data management platforms in the past, Neil is now coupling industry expertise with deep AI capabilities, to build modern, powerful and useful tools for 2-1-1's and other I&Rs.

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