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Soul Machines' 'Florence' enlisted by WHO to fight COVID-19

Soul Machines' 'Florence' enlisted by WHO to fight COVID-19

Digital human will help fight smoking and COVID-19 misinformation

Florence (WHO)

Florence (WHO)

Credit: Supplied

New Zealand-based Soul Machines, the developer of life-like digital human assistants, is helping the World Health Organization to fight COVID-19 and smoking.

A digital human artificial intelligence called "Florence" will assist WHO's access initiative for quitting tobacco and to share life-saving information during the COVID-19 pandemic and combat misinformation.

Florence, the WHO’s first digital health worker, was created using Soul Machines technology and WHO technical guidance, with support from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud. 

Florence will help provide clarity and expel damaging myths around COVID-19, and to address smoking and its consequences - heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases - all of which are co-morbidities with COVID-19. 

Although around 60 per cent of the 1.3 billion tobacco users globally want to quit, only 30 per cent of them have access to tools that can help them quit.

Smokers can engage Florence to develop a quit plan and access a trusted source anytime and from any place to help them quit. 

Initially available in English, Florence will, over time, be available in all six official UN languages.

Florence's ability to scale and talk to many individuals 24/7 also helps frees up critical people resources.

“We are pleased to partner with the WHO to help reimagine the massive challenge of how to scale health communication in a high-trust way as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise globally,” said Soul Machines co-founder and chief business officer Greg Cross.

“We congratulate the WHO on leading the world in the application of AI in public health. Bold innovation is required to help close the gap in access to health care."


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