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avatar for Jake Kendall

Jake Kendall

Caribou Digital
Director of the Digital Financial Services Innovation Lab (DFS Lab)
Jake is the Director of the Digital Financial Services Innovation Lab (DFS Lab), an early stage fintech incubator supporting top teams in Africa and South Asia. Prior to joining the foundation, he spent time as an Economist with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) within the World Bank and in two start-ups in the field of cryptography. Jake is a published researcher and author and holds a PhD in Economics from UC Santa Cruz and a BS in Physics from MIT. After MIT, he spent two years in Zambia as a fisheries extension agent with the US Peace Corps. Jake has also worked as a brand analyst for a major advertising firm and, throughout his youth, a salmon fisherman in Alaska.

Digital Advocates: Natural language interfaces that help low-income people navigate complex formal systems: Low-income people are often challenged to deal with complex formal systems dominated by written rules, complex documents, formal (vs colloquial) language, non-local language, and cultural norms that disadvantage them. Yet they often need to negotiate these systems to get access to essential financial products and services; assert their rights; or claim critical government benefits. A particularly deep area of need are interfaces to government subsidy and social safety net programs. The DFS Lab is launching a consortium to engineer innovative natural language interfaces to act as guides, advisers, and advocates for the millions of low-income people around the world who interact with these systems every day. This talk will share insights from our work including 3-4 pilot projects around the world.