Ask Watson: IBM offers AI-powered platform to help govt agencies, others handle Covid-19 queries

Ask Watson: IBM offers AI-powered platform to help govt agencies, others handle Covid-19 queries
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3 Apr, 2020

New York-headquartered technology giant IBM has offered Watson Assistant for Citizen free of cost for 90 days to help improve wait times on Covid-19 related queries. 

Due to high call volumes about Covid-19, people sometimes wait more than two hours to receive an answer. 

The new offering is expected to help government bodies, healthcare workers and academic institutions quickly respond to common questions about Covid-19. The platform on IBM public cloud brings together Watson Assistant, natural language processing capabilities and enterprise artificial intelligence  (AI) solutions. 

Apart from English, IBM has also trained its AI-powered assistant to answer queries in Hindi.

Read: Coronavirus India LIVE Updates

"In these challenging times, it's critical to offer accurate information to all constituents and hence a clear opportunity to apply AI to quickly answer common questions at a very large scale. IBM developed the Watson Assistant for Citizens to provide an AI-powered virtual agent that helps governments deliver accurate information to their citizens without overwhelming contact centres where human agents are needed to help those who truly need them." Gargi Dasgupta, Director - IBM Research India and CTO IBM India /South Asia said in a statement.

In India, the assistant uses data from external sources such as the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, citizen welfare schemes in India, as well as global resources such as World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the company said.

IBM already has already rolled out this service across the United States, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain.

The Big Blue has been using technology to aid agencies in the fight against Covid-19. Recently, the company announced that it will provide free cybersecurity and data services to companies for 90 days. The company said it will allow its customers to build virtual servers linked with its cloud solutions and also provide troubleshooting services. The solutions are expected to help IBM customers better manage workloads from home.

Last week, the company launched a programme 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge, inviting developers and innovators to find solutions to support the global fight against Covid-19.