Tech giant IBM announced on Monday, July 13, that it is collaborating with United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) Youth Philippines to deliver Covid-19 information to Filipinos by using IBM Watson Assistant, a conversational AI solution designed and trained to understand natural language and interact with users to provide responses to Covid-19 questions.
Since deployment, the average daily conversations the virtual agent using IBM Watson Assistant is having has increased by 1,050% as compared to the previous QA platform UN SDSN Youth Philippines was using.
In April this year, SDSN Youth became part of the UN Covid-19 Response Task Force. In order to maximize citizen outreach, the youth group created the Philippine Interactive Dashboard, a consolidated and comprehensive one-stop shop for all relevant information on Covid-19.
Designed specifically for the Filipinos, especially the youth, the dashboard aims to efficiently learn more about Covid-19 from reputable sources, and presents data in an appealing format. It has been averaging around 200,000 site visits a month as of June 2020.
The virtual agent can answer citizens’ questions, asking for clarification or redirecting the user to specific information on the dashboard or to other websites of related government departments and official bodies. The virtual agent is deployed in a Web browser and it is built in a way that it safeguards the privacy of the users.
The virtual agent is using IBM Watson Assistant, hosted on the IBM public cloud, and enterprise AI search capabilities with Watson Discovery to understand and respond to common questions about Covid-19. It leverages trusted information sources, including guidance from the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and SDSN Youth’s Philippine Interactive Dashboard.
Using these sources, it understands and responds to common questions including pre-trained Covid-19 symptoms and testing information, public service information, and additional intents organizations can select from the IBM’s content catalog. Watson Assistant continuously learns and gets better the more it is trained and used.
“In these unprecedented times, access to accurate information plays a critical role in allaying fears, dispelling myths and building trust among citizens. I am excited to see today’s Filipino youth proactively playing a part in making a difference in today’s different normal brought about by this pandemic,” Aileen Judan-Jiao, IBM Philippines president and country general manager.
“We are currently offering Watson Assistant to local government agencies, businesses, hospitals or other healthcare organizations while assisting with the initial set up, which can typically be done in just a few days. Organizations can customize the solution to address questions specific to their city or region or integrate IBM Watson Assistant to its existing back-end ERP systems,” Judan-Jiao added.
Aside from the Philippines, IBM Watson Assistant is also currently at work in the Covid-19 initiatives of more than 25 countries and counting, including Thailand, the Czech Republic, and the USA.