India Creates WhatsApp Chatbot to Share Accurate Coronavirus Info
The government of India has set up a chatbot on WhatsApp to help citizens get answers about the COVID-19 pandemic. The MyGov Corona Helpdesk is designed to combat misinformation surrounding the coronavirus that could make the pandemic worse.
The chatbot is available to anyone on Whatsapp. It can provide information about the coronavirus, how it is spread, and what to do if you exhibit some of the symptoms. The chatbot pulls its responses from the Indian Ministry of Health, reflecting the central goal of pushing back against rumors and false stories that may be spread about the coronavirus. WhatsApp is enormously popular in India, which makes a chatbot on the platform a good way to share accurate information with the populace.
The chatbot is part of the government’s larger efforts to push back against misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Electronics and IT sent out an advisory on Friday explicitly requesting that social media companies tell users not to post false information about the disease.
“It has been reported in media that there is a trend of circulation of misinformation/false news and sharing anonymous data related to Corona virus in various social media platforms, the advisory states. “Intermediaries are urged to initiate awareness campaign on their platforms for the users not to upload/ circulate any false news/misinformation concerning corona virus which are likely to create panic among public and disturb the public order and social tranquillity.”
India’s arrangement to combine social media, artificial intelligence, and the Ministry of Health database is becoming a standard model for getting accurate information about the coronavirus to the public. Microsoft is pushing out a chatbot template for the same purpose to healthcare providers, who can also turn to Orbita’s interactive voice and text chatbot or Hyro’s free coronavirus-focused version of its virtual assistant. The main difference is that those chatbots are embedded in the websites or voice apps of healthcare organizations as opposed to WhatsApp.
But, the crucial element to all of them is accuracy. The chatbots rely on reputable sources to be useful. Concern about misinformation is why both Alexa and Google Assistant removed all of the voice apps related to the coronavirus from their catalogs, and why Apple took some time to create a walkthrough on Siri for checking if you have the symptoms.
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