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WHO unveils AI-powered digital health worker, Florence 2.0

The chatbot builds on its previous version, which was used to tackle COVID-19 misinformation


The World Health Organization (WHO), with support from the Qatar Ministry of Health, has unveiled an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital health worker as a platform to share a ‘myriad’ of health topics, dubbed Florence version 2.0.

The AI, which made its debut at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) in Qatar, can share advice on mental health, give tips to destress, provide guidance on how to eat right, be more active, and quit tobacco and e-cigarettes.

"Digital technology plays a critical role in helping people worldwide lead healthier lives,” said Andy Pattison, WHO’s team lead for digital channels. “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.”

The latest version of the chatbot builds on its first model, which was used to help tackle misinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now available to converse in English, with Arabic, French, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi and Russian to follow.

The topics chosen for Florence include what WHO deems as some of the major health issues facing the world today, with the hope that providing advice on these key areas will encourage users to make healthier life choices.

It is estimated that one in every eight people in the world lives with a mental disorder, while tobacco and unhealthy diet kill 16 million people every year, and physical inactivity kills an estimated 830 000.

“We know that providing advice on Florence’s key health topics, including mental health, nutrition and tobacco cessation is an important tool in our commitment to support people to make healthy lifestyle choices,” said Dr Yousuf Al Maslamani, official healthcare spokesperson for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Ministry of Public Health.

The beta version of Florence 2.0 was released by WHO at the WISH conference to interact with scientists, public health organisations, entrepreneurs, and policymakers.

Commenting on the unveiling, Nick Bradshaw, director of partnerships and outreach at WISH, said: “We are pleased to have Florence 2.0 launched at the WISH conference. This is a place for global actors to come together to find solutions for public health. WHO is demonstrating incredible innovation leadership by using groundbreaking empathetic AI.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

10th October 2022

From: Research, Healthcare



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