Latrobe plans Watson-powered COVID-19 chatbot
Latrobe University has become the first organisation in Australia to sign on to a new initiative from IBM offering free access to its Watson Assistant for Citizens for at least the next 90 days.
The university is collaborating with the IBM Cloud Garage team to develop a COVID-19 chatbot for staff, faculty and students.
The chatbot will be able to quickly and accurately answer frequently asked questions about symptoms, as well as provide access to state and federal information on restrictions and the status of university lockdowns. It will be housed on the university’s website.
“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,” IBM Data & AI GM Rob Thomas said.
“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.”
IBM’s offer includes access to 15 pre-trained COVID-19 ‘intents’ or queries. The Watson Assistant service will seek to recognise the intent expressed in a customer’s input and choose the correct dialog flow for responding to it.
Globally, the company is also working with organisations including the Czech and Polish health ministries, as well as Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in the US.
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