With Covid-19 cases rising across the globe despite lockdowns and other social distancing measures, governments, academia as well as tech giants have begun working on solutions to minimise the impact of the outbreak. While the economy has been facing a hard time, demand for emerging technologies like conversational AI is at its peak.
For instance, in India, the Ministry of Health along with the MyGov platform launched a ‘Corona Helpdesk’ chatbot on Facebook Messenger to suggest the ‘dos and don’ts’ to prevent the virus from spreading. Likewise, tech giants have also been assisting when it comes to interactive communication with the help of various collaboration tools.
Conversational AI is currently working to fill this gap in organisations. This technique has been used as an interactive medium for various purposes, such as providing information and updates about COVID-19, as a communication tool within companies, among others.
Let us take a closer look at some of the tech giants who have made enhancements into their conversational AI platforms amid the pandemic:
In March, the tech giant announced the deployment of a chatbot using COVID-19 protocols. The conversational bots are designed to collect information from patients and help route them to the most appropriate level of care based on their answers. It helps by providing information related to the novel coronavirus, guidance on when to be tested for the virus, and instructions on what to do if they have a confirmed positive result.
According to a blog post, AWS also launched a global initiative to accelerate COVID‑19 diagnostics, research, and testing. Amazon Cloud has also invested $20 million for customers working on diagnostics solutions.
According to reports, Apple implemented a version of the US Public Health Service and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 triage questionnaire protocol through its popular voice assistant, Siri. The company has also joined hands with internet search giant Google to create a decentralised contact tracing tool that will help individuals determine whether they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
In March, the tech giant launched the Healthcare Bot service to deliver medical care as well as provide information to help people make decisions and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed. The bot uses artificial intelligence (AI) and Microsoft Azure powers it. It is offered to organisations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response to help screen patients for potential infection and care.
The Healthcare Bot service is a scalable Azure-based public cloud service that allows organisations to quickly build and deploy an AI-powered bot for websites or applications that can offer patients – or the general public – personalised access to health-related information through a natural conversation experience.
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A few days ago, tech giant Google launched AI chatbot for COVID-19 information known as Rapid Response Virtual Agent. The Virtual Agent program is available around the world in any of the 23 languages supported by Dialogflow. This AI virtual agent includes open source templates for organisations to add COVID-19-related content to their chatbots. It will help in answering customers’ questions immediately and deliver exceptional customer service with Contact Center AI – artificial intelligence that converses naturally with customers.
Furthermore, due to increasing demand for video conferencing amid the lockdown, the tech giant also announced that it will allow businesses and education users on Gmail to take calls on its video conferencing tool Meet directly.
At the starting of this month, the Big Blue announced Watson Assistant for Citizens. To help address the situations around the pandemic, the tech giant offered Watson Assistant at no charge for at least 90 days. The conversational AI platform is trained to understand and respond to common COVID-19 questions directly leveraging US CDC guidance, and can be easily integrated into existing web or phone channels.
In March, the multinational company announced that it will open-source its conversational AI platform, MindMeld. It is meant for deep-domain voice interfaces and chatbots. MindMeld Conversational AI Platform is a Python-based machine learning framework, which has been used to build advanced conversational applications for some of the world’s largest organisations.
Furthermore, the tech giant had also released extensive documentation and a step-by-step guide known as Conversational AI Playbook. The Conversational AI Playbook is intended for applied machine learning engineers to provide detailed steps that are needed to build modern, state-of-the-art conversational experiences.
Currently, digital assistants and conversational AI platforms support an organisation by enabling easy access to information, delivering consistent engagement of employees, and more. With lockdowns enforced amid the pandemic, tech giants tried to surmount the problems by enhancing their conversational AI platforms. The widespread adoption of this platform has made the tech giants invest heavily in their conversational AI platforms.
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