IBM makes AI tool for Covid-19 queries free for 90 days

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With Covid-19 affecting 206 countries, areas and territories, tech giant IBM is offering government agencies, healthcare organizations, and academic institutions throughout the world use AI to put critical data and information into the hands of their citizens.

IBM is offering its “Watson Assistant for Citizens” for no charge to its clients for at least 90 days and will assist with initial set up, which can typically be done in a few days.

“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,” said Rob Thomas, general manager at IBM Data and AI.

“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.”

Watson Assistant for Citizens leverages currently available data from external sources, including guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and local sources such as links to school closings, news and documents on a state website.

IBM is already delivering the service across the United States, as well as engaging with organizations globally in Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK, and more.

Using information provided by clients, Watson Assistant for Citizens automates responses to frequently asked questions about Covid-19 that come in via phone call or text, such as “What are symptoms?,” “How do I clean my home properly?” and “How do I protect myself?”

State and local government agencies, hospitals or other healthcare organizations can choose to customize the solution to address questions specific to their area or region, including “What are cases in my neighborhood?,” “How long are schools shut down?,” and “Where can I get tested?”

The Watson solution is available in English and Spanish and can be tailored to 13 languages.

The offer includes access to 15 pre-trained Covid-19 “intents” or queries.  “Intents” are purposes or goals that are expressed in a customer’s input, such as answering a question. By recognizing the intent expressed in a customer’s input, the Watson Assistant service can choose the correct dialog flow for responding to it.

Clients can also work with IBM to customize the offering on top of the base model and intents to include information related specifically to a city or region for specific information that is pertinent to those citizens or constituents, as well as integrate with client’s back-end ERP systems.

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