IBM Watson can now address all your coronavirus questions


3, 2020

Author Anmol // in News

The coronavirus pandemic has seen companies taking advantage of the technology to help both the government and the individuals. In an attempt to help out, IBM has announced the availability of IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens which will be able to address all the burning questions around the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press release, IBM said that the company will be making new Watson suite free for 90 days. The service will be available on both the web and on smartphones and will use IBM Research’s natural language processing technology with Watson Discovery.

While helping government agencies and healthcare institutions use AI to get critical information out to their citizens remains a high priority right now, the current environment has made it clear that every business in every industry should find ways to digitally engage with their clients and employees. With today’s news, IBM is taking years of experience in helping thousands of global businesses and institutions use Natural Language Processing and other advanced AI technologies to better meet the demands of their constituents, and now applying it to the COVID-19 crisis. AI has the power to be your assistant during this uncertain time.

– Rob Thomas, General Manager, IBM Data & AI

IBM Watson Assistant for Citizen will take advantage of available data from external sources, including guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and local sources to deliver accurate information. Currently, the company is “delivering this service across the United States, as well as engaging with organizations globally in Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK and more.”

Here are examples where IBM is engaging with government and healthcare agencies on Watson Assistant for Citizens:

  • ARKANSASUniversity of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – In 9 days, deployed a virtual agent so citizens can get their questions answered quickly about testing, symptoms or resources. Information is automatically sent to a mobile COVID-19 triage clinic electronically to help speed response. Average registration time has been reduced by fifty percent for those using the agent.
  • CALIFORNIA: City of Lancaster in Los Angeles County – COVID-19 information for citizens on common questions such as symptoms and recommended procedures to follow in case of infection.
  • GEORGIA: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – The “COVID-19 Pediatric Assessment Tool” walks parents through a series of questions and results in suggested next steps that a parent should take. Recommendations on next steps are made according to the healthcare system’s established protocols.
  • NEW YORK: County of Otsego – COVID-19-related information will be available within the next few days for citizens to help them quickly get their health and non-health related questions answered regarding the pandemic. Otsego County’s COVID-19 virtual agent will be able to answer citizen’s questions like: “How do I apply for unemployment?”
  • TEXASCity of Austin – COVID-19-related information will soon be available for citizens with interactive conversation on where to get testing and other information.
  • CZECH REPUBLIC: Czech Ministry of Health – COVID-19 virtual agent called “Anežka” advises citizens about prevention, treatment and other related topics on the coronavirus.
  • GREECE: Hellenic Ministry of Digital Governance – COVID-19-related information for citizens and interactive conversation on preventive and precautionary measures issued by the Greek Government.
  • POLAND: Polish Ministry of Health – COVID-19 information for Polish citizens on common questions such as symptoms and recommended procedures to follow in case of infection.
  • SPAIN: Andalusian Government – A virtual agent to help respond to citizen’s queries about COVID-19 is available through the app “Salud Responde” and the Public Agency for Health Emergencies (EPES) website, built also in collaboration with the Andalusian Health Service (SAS).
  • UK: National Health Service Wales: Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board – CERi, an English and Welsh speaking virtual assistant, will soon go live to support healthcare workers and the general public in Wales who need information or have questions on the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 along with general information about the virus.

If you’re interested in IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens then you can head to IBM’s dedicated website to read more about it. IBM has also shared a link for businesses who want to take advantage of IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens.

IBM is not the only company that’s working towards curbing the spread of coronavirus. Recently, Microsoft announced that its global supply chain team has secured much-needed supplies which included protective gear, thermometers and more. Apple and Facebook, on the other hand, have donated millions of masks to the healthcare workers in the US and Europe while RazerTesla and SpaceX converted their manufacturing assembly lines to produce surgical masks and ventilators respectively.

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