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IBM Watson will now answer all your coronavirus questions

(Image credit: Wikimedia)

IBM is bundling up a few of its Artificial Intelligence (AI) services and offering them to governments, healthcare firms and other companies struggling to handle the large influx of coronavirus-related phone calls.

According to ZDNet, IBM is combining Watson Assistant (a question-answering computer system), the company’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology and Watson Discovery (AI tech) and calling it IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens.

The company claims there are so many coronavirus-related phone calls going towards governments that the queue is sometimes two hours long. Most of the questions, IBM believes, are “common”, something an AI could handle easily.

The IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens pulls in data from various sources, including the US Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, as well as various local authorities.

The tool will be available free for three months, in both phone and online format. A total of 13 languages are supported, and the counties where it could work include the UK, Poland, Spain, Italy, Finland, Greece, the US and the Czech Republic.

Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, so far has more than 900,000 confirmed cases, and more than 47,000 deaths. It is believed to have originated from the Chinese province of Wuhan late last year. The Chinese government has recently said it would lift the lockdown on Wuhan as all of the new reported cases were imports.