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WHO launches freely accessible AI digital health worker

The World Health Organization (WHO), with support from the Qatar Ministry of Health, has launched an artificial intelligence digital health worker, Florence.

The AI animated digital person is said to offer “an innovative and interactive platform to share a myriad of health topics in seven languages” and “share advice on mental health, give tips to destress, provide guidance on how to eat right, be more active, quit tobacco and e-cigarettes, and provide information on COVID-19 vaccines”.

WHO recently released the beta version of Florence 2.0 to interact with scientists, public health organisations, entrepreneurs, and policy-makers – with plans to continue to develop the digital worker to meet major health issues today.

The project is supported by tech company Soul Machines, specialists in bringing avatars to life in the form of autonomously animated digital people.

“Through this collaboration, we have created a personality for the frontline responder that is empathetic, informative, and understanding,” says Greg Cross, CEO and Co-Founder of Soul Machines. “Our Digital People operate and respond in real time, providing users with a unique and emotionally engaging experience. We look forward to continuing our work on Florence as we aim to positively reshape and transform the health-care industry.”

Andy Pattison, WHO’s Team Lead for Digital Channels, added: “The AI health worker Florence is a shining example of the potential to harness technology to promote and protect people’s physical and mental health. At WISH, we aim to meet with visionary partners to continue to improve this cutting-edge technology. AI can help fill gaps in health information that exist in many communities around the world.”