IBM Offers “Watson Assistant for Citizens” to Provide Responses to COVID-19 Questions

With COVID-19 affecting 206 countries, areas and territories, IBM is helping government agencies, healthcare organizations and academic institutions throughout the world use AI to put trusted data and information into the hand of their citizens.

With a flood of information requests from citizens, wait times in many areas to receive answers can exceed two hours. Available for no charge for at least 90 days and available to citizens online, IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens on the IBM public cloud brings together Watson Assistant, Natural Language Processing capabilities from IBM Research, and state-of-art enterprise AI search capabilities with Watson Discovery, to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19. Watson Assistant for Citizens automates responses to frequently asked questions about COVID-19.

“In the current COVID19 outbreak situation, it’s very important for us to leverage advanced technology to help provide access to accurate, useful and trusted information to citizens,” said Patama Chantaruck, Vice President for Indochina Expansion and Managing Director of IBM Thailand.

“As IBM sees the need for cross-sector collaboration, we are now offering Watson Assistant for Citizens for no charge for at least 90 days to local government agencies, hospitals or other healthcare organizations. IBM will assist initial set up, which can typically be done in a few days. Organizations can customize the solution to address questions specific to their city or region, or integrate Watson Assistant for Citizens to its existing back-end ERP systems,” add Patama. “Today, IBM also opens Watson Assistant for Citizens for public use in Thailand at Both Thai and foreigners can now ask English information about COVID-19, including treatment, protection, measures for travelers, etc, from the AI chatbot that can provide accurate and reliable information.

IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens leverages currently available data from external sources, including guidance from World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Thailand’s Department of Disease Control, National Institute of Health of Thailand, together with the accurate and trustworthy news from Bangkok Post, the English language daily newspaper that has been serving Thai community for over 70 years.

Using information provided by users, together with 15 pre-trained COVID-19 “intents” or queries, Watson Assistant service can recognize the intent expressed in a user’s input and can choose the correct dialog flow for responding to it, including “What are symptoms?,” “How do I protect myself?,” “Where can I get tested?,” “What are measures for travelers?,” or “What is the emergency decree?”

This week, IBM also brings IBM Power Systems and FlashSystem, together with IBM Cloud platform that comes with world-class security capabilities, to support ThaifightCOVID19 app by The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and DEPA, in partnership with Card2U. ThaifightCOVID19 app is the one-stop trusted sources of information about COVID-19, covering information about hospitals where citizens can get tested, how to self-assess for risk of COVID19, risk areas, self-tracking tool, fake news spotting, important hotlines, and official announcement from government.

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