WHO Unveils First Digital Health Worker to Fight Covid-19 and Smoking

The World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled its first digital health worker as part of a global initiative to convince the world’s more than one billion tobacco users to quit smoking, share life-saving information during the coronavirus pandemic and combat misinformation about the coronavirus.

Developed by New Zealand technology company, Soul Machines, Florence is what is known as an avatar, a virtual brain behind the virtual body.

“Florence isn’t trying to trick you that she’s a real person. Florence is saying I’m a digital person, I’m here to help. Florence is digital. There is no judgment involved, so the lack of human judgment actually makes our digital people more approachable and potentially more helpful,” said Greg Cross, Soul Machines co-founder.

The human brain behind the concept, is Professor Mark Sagar who started out by developing “Baby X” – using an image of his own child to create virtual humans that can respond to people in real time.

Florence is designed to warn the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users about the dangers of smoking, and also about the risks of getting seriously ill from Covid-19. The avatar is also programmed to correct myths about COVID-19.

Digital assistants like Florence are expected to become even more popular in the future because Covid-19 has forced so many people to live and work from home. And there’s no limit to the possibilities, with areas including health and education already being utilized.

For Soul Machines, creating Florence for the WHO is about making a difference. Now, around 150 people based in New Zealand and the United States work on research and development, and demand for digital workers has increased due to Covid-19.

“It’s humbling, and it’s incredibly exciting in terms of anything that we’ve done so far as a company,” said Cross.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2TwO8Gm

Follow QuickTake on Twitter: twitter.com/quicktake
Like QuickTake on Facebook: facebook.com/quicktake
Follow QuickTake on Instagram: instagram.com/quicktake
Subscribe to our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FJ0oQZ
Email us at quicktakenews@gmail.com

QuickTake by Bloomberg is a global news network delivering up-to-the-minute analysis on the biggest news, trends and ideas for a new generation of leaders.

In This Story: COVID-19

Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
  • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
  • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

Latest News about Covid-19

Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

5 Recent Items: COVID-19

  • CommBank stood ‘right by the side’ of the St John Ambulance amid lockdown hardship
  • Anxiety in Australia as conflict ravages Tigray region of Ethiopia | The World
  • Is the world reaching ‘peak meat’? | FT Food Revolution
  • CommBank CEO speaks with Sky News about aiding communities amid pandemic
  • Mexico’s women turn federal building into shelter for gender violence victims
  • In This Story: New Zealand

    New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres.

    4 Recent Items: New Zealand

  • Expert labels state of local government in New Zealand, ‘a dog’s breakfast’
  • The Hong Kong-Singapore Travel Bubble Delay Explained
  • Chanderpaul Hits Magnificent Match-winning 108*! | West Indies v New Zealand 2nd ODI 2002
  • RBNZ Governor: Low Interest Rates Have Supported the Economy
  • In This Story: United States

    The United States is a country also known as the United States of America, USA, US or just America. There are fifty states in the union, which is a federal republic ruled by a representative democracy. Nearly ten million square kilometres are inhabited by over 300 million people. The majority of Americans speak English.

    4 Recent Items: United States

  • Meghan Markle writes for the New York Times
  • Olympic Dressage Star Steffen Peters: “Horses are just incredible animals!” | Equestrian World
  • Martin Jacques: China bests the West on pandemic, economic challenges
  • A Biden administration will ‘return the US to orthodoxy’, or rather, ‘underachievement’
  • In This Story: World Health Organization

    The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency’s governing structure and principles, states its main objective as “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”

    3 Recent Items: World Health Organization

  • Live Q&A on #AntimicrobialResistence. #AskWHO
  • WHO: Multiple ‘patient zero’ could exist, cross-species spreading possible
  • Festive Gatherings Put Elderly at Risk, WHO Warns
  • Leave a Comment