Coronavirus and Chatbots – Using AI to Answer Urgent Questions During Urgent Times

First, wash your hands, and then read this.

Everyone has questions about the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, aka COVID-19.  With the backdrop of the US government recently declaring a state of national emergency, we’ve been working hand-in-hand with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to make sure their Gobot chatbot can address questions pouring in from the community on the topic. 

” The staff here see it as a couple hundred phone calls that they didn’t get on a daily basis. We still get calls, but I believe the chatbot is getting people the information that they need faster than humanly possible!”

-Lieutenant A.J. Rotella, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department

Other organizations have also been leveraging chatbots to help disseminate information during this challenging period.

I am sure there are many great examples but here are just a few:

  • Two telemedicine startups are working together on a program that allows worried patients to text their concerns about the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, to a chatbot that can link them to remote doctors. The goal is to help them avoid waiting in crowded clinics that may increase the risk of infection for them and for healthcare providers. Read more here.
  • Italy’s government has put the country’s entire population of around 60 million in quarantine and imposed measures such as bans on public gatherings and travel restrictions to try and contain the virus.  The startup, Paginemediche, has created a tool to support the health emergency efforts by providing an online triage in infection diagnostics. Read more here.
  • To stop the spread of disinformation during this critical time, BBDO Guerrero has partnered with the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility to develop a Facebook chatbot that sniffs out fake news in the Philippines specifically. The effort (#stopthespread) follows research from the groups that found a staggering 98 percent of people in the Philippines use Facebook as their main source of information. Now, people can send any suspicious links to the chatbot through messenger and it will verify them based on factors such as bylines, photo credits and publishing dates.

These are some great use cases for chatbots.

I’m sure we’ll see more creative uses as the situation with the coronavirus evolves. What’s clear is that more people will be working from home for social distancing purposes.

To accommodate this shift in the workplace, we recommend the use of virtual agents to pick up the slack.

You can use chatbots to automate responses to FAQs and to dramatically reduce the load on your customer support team.

Interested in learning more? Click here to schedule a discovery call.

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