Arthritis UK team up with IBM to launch AI driven support

AI driven chat bots are certainly all the rage at the moment, and whilst I think there is typically more hype than substance to them, one of the better incarnations comes via a recently announced partnership between Arthritis UK and IBM that will see Watson power a new service to give advice to people living with arthritis.

The app, which will be available via both app and website, will offer a natural language interface to help deliver personalized support to people anytime and any place.

The right information

Millions of people suffer with arthritis, and the many different ways if affects people can make finding suitable information online a challenge.  Indeed, the existing Arthritis Research UK website receives thousands of queries every day on how to cope with the condition.

The charity hope that by teaming up with Watson’s conversation engine, they can provide people with a quick and easy way to get personalized answers to their queries 24/7.

“We know that there are millions of people in the UK living with arthritis whose lives are severely limited as they struggle with unanswered questions. We want to ensure that everyone has access to information and support, whenever and wherever they need it,” Arthritis UK say.  “We’re really excited to be working with IBM Watson on this innovative new service that will enable us to have conversations with anyone seeking help, that we simply wouldn’t be able to answer so quickly otherwise. We’re confident that this new virtual assistant will help more people push back the ways arthritis limits their lives.”

The system was developed with the help of over 350 volunteers who helped to test and improve the tool.  It will initially be providing users with general information about arthritis and exercise, but the plan is for the knowledge base to expand and cover a great many more questions over time.  Indeed, there are also plans to incorporate voice commands into the service, together with location based services.

You can see an example of the interface in the image below.

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