The Voice AI Checking Up on Potential Coronavirus Victims in China and South Korea Could Expand to the US
Speech tech developer iFlytek has launched an AI-powered automated calling system in China and South Korea to help track the spread of the novel coronavirus. iFlytek is running the free Accufly.ai program in a partnership with South Korea-based Hancom Group to reach people diagnosed with COVID-19 and those they have been in close contact with recently.
Accufly.ai acts as a semi-autonomous system for calling people who are or have been infected with COVID-19. The AI asks the people it calls about their interactions with others, their symptoms, and treatment. The information is collected and organized to be useful for modeling the spread of the virus and come up with ways to contain it. Accufly is designed to save medical professionals and government employees all of the time and effort it would take to gather and collate that information. The AI also shares information with potential carriers. It lays out how to look best to keep others safe and provides a method for connecting with a doctor as necessary.
“The questions are actually the same as what people are asking. The AI Outbound Calling System was set up to conduct outbound calls to screen the health status of individuals,” iFlytek CFO Dawei Duan told Voicebot in an interview. “For example, a patient receives a call from the AI call system that asks a series of questions regarding fever screening, self-isolation health condition, and follow-up care. It has also been used for broader education efforts on prevention measures. The system can be set up for inbound calls as well where individuals can ask a series of questions related to coronavirus such as on prevention, self-isolation, and what to do if they are sick.”
The call system is currently being used in several cities. In the places with the highest infection rates, more than 10,000 phone calls are made every few days. According to Duan, people are reporting that the AI is just as reliable as a human caller. The follow-up calls are made based on the rules set up by the authorities in terms of who they need data from.
With the success so far of the program in China and South Korea, iFlytek is planning to extend its program to other countries. The details will be different depending on location and circumstance, but the technology underlying the calls will be the same, Duan said. The company is already discussing how it might apply its technology in the U.S., as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.
“iFLYTEK provides the technology and the standard application solution, the partner will tailor the technology and application in compliance with the applicable requirements of the local government and health organizations,” Duan said. “The purpose of applying the smart outbound calling solution is to improve work efficiency, provide medical and humane care, and stop the spread of the virus.”