Chatbot – an anti-epidemic “weapon” on the online battlefield
Covid-19 occurred suddenly, and there is an outbreak worldwide. Besides mass media channels, chatbots are one of the modern tools used by many countries to quickly communicate to people in the online environment through popular chat platforms.
What is a chatbot? Why do many countries around the world build Covid-19 chatbots?
What is a chatbot? A chatbot is a software application, allowing computers to communicate with users via text like humans. Chatbots interact with users like automated answering systems but are much smarter. By conversational scripts and Machine Learning, Chatbot AI can learn, understand questions, needs, desires of users by itself and give appropriate answers.
Because of these advantages, since coronavirus began to spread in Wuhan (China), hundreds of chatbots have been created to share emergency information about the disease. Chatbots are built by many organizations, in many languages, many countries around the world, from WHO to Health organizations, Ministry of Health of each country ... All chatbots have the same goal, which is to inform and support people during the dangerous disease outbreak, reduce the pressure on hospitals, help people improve their understanding of precautions against the disease, and prevent the spread of Sars-cov-2 virus.
For example, WHO, the World Health Organization, is one of the most reliable information sources of disease. WHO has built a chatbot on WhatsApp to share information with people around the world, having an outstanding function of answering popular questions about Sars-cov-2 virus. The chatbot's conversation is written in English with simple, understandable, clear and informative sentences.
WHO has created a WhatsApp chatbot to answer questions and give advice regarding the new coronavirus.
Another example is German government building a chatbot to check people for coronavirus symptoms. The chatbot will give short, simple questions to assess the likelihood of infection. These questions are similar to those asked by a doctor, helping users feel comfortable during the check-up. At the end of the test, the bot will advise on the next steps people need to do.
The chatbot of the Information Technology Department - Ministry of Health of Vietnam
From late February, when the pandemic was brewing in Vietnam, the Information Technology Department under the Ministry of Health had cooperated with FPT.AI to deploy and build a chatbot. It was completed in just 1 week and quickly went into operation and serve citizens. During the peak time, every day, the chatbot automatically answered over 5,000 people's requests for the Covid-19 situation.
As many chatbots in the world, FPT.AI's Chatbot has performed very well main functions such as:
1. Chatbot answers popular questions about Sars-cov-2 virus
When health is at risk, everyone has 24/7 access to the latest, most accurate and useful news. "Fake news" is spreading worldwide to many people. In this complex pandemic situation, these fake news are even more dangerous since they send many people into panics.
The chatbot learns the official, very reliable information from experts and doctors of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases. Therefore, chatbots always provide accurate information, dispel false rumors, give the right advice from doctors, guide people on how to protect themselves and prevent infection.
Sars-cov-2 virus are dangerous because they spread from person to person exponentially fast. In hospitals around the world, it is difficult to get enough staff, time and resources to treat patients. Therefore, Chatbot was born to reduce the burden on the healthcare systems of hospitals.
The chatbot quickly provides symptoms for people to have initially check-up for infection. If there are no obvious symptoms, the chatbot can advise people to quarantine themselves at home to reduce the overload of health facilities. If there are symptoms of the disease, it will provide the information of the nearest local hospital, as well as guide people on what to do next.
2. Chatbot provides real-time data and situation of the pandemic
The chatbot is constantly updated in real-time, through the connection to the API into the data system. As a result, data on cases, deaths, cured people, or areas where have new cases are continuously updated.
Besides, information about school opening/closing schedules, restrictions on domestic and international flights are also issues that people are interested in. Therefore, the Information Technology Department also focuses on this information to train bots, help them have enough data to answer questions.
3. Chatbot advises people on health care and diet
Besides physical dangers, Chat also pays special attention to diet and enhance the immune system during the pandemic. This shows that the Ministry of Health cares about the citizen’s health, both infected and non-infected people.
The chatbot answers about diets to improve the immune system and healthy foods.
4. Chatbot shows people how to get help quickly
During the social distancing period, citizens were confused about what to do. In this situation, if there are any difficulties, people can ask chatbot. The chatbot will immediately provide hotline as well as phone numbers and addresses of nearby hospitals.
Vietnam is one of the fastest countries to respond to and control Covid-19 disease in the world. To achieve that, the careful supervision of the Government and the Ministry of Health to inform citizens in time and in all media plays an important role. The chatbot did very well the task assigned. In the future, chatbots will likely be built to become virtual health care assistants of many hospitals across the country, helping to automatically advise and quickly answer questions about many common diseases.