f5-nz logo
Story image

Soul Machines joins WHO to bring better health support and info to global public

Soul Machines has been working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat health related misinformation - specifically around COVID-19 and smoking, and bring better knowledge and services to the global public.

Soul Machines is an AGI company that specialises in helping businesses of every nature enhance customer experience and better utilise human and machine collaboration.

The company has now officially joined WHO’s Access Initiative (AI) for Quitting Tobacco to help share WHO’s information during the COVID-19 pandemic and help more one billion tobacco users quit.

As part of this initiative, Florence, the WHO’s first digital health worker, was created using Soul Machines technology and WHO technical guidance, with support from Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

Smokers are more exposed to the COVID-19 virus and are at greater risk of having severe disease complications, WHO states.

Furthermore, although around 60% of the 1.3 billion tobacco users globally want to quit, only 30% of them have access to tools that can help them quit.

Florence has been designed to help provide clarity and expel damaging myths around COVID-19, and will specifically address smoking and its consequences, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases, all of which lead to higher risks and adverse consequences from COVID-19.

As WHO’s digital health worker, Florence will help give the increasing numbers of people globally who have a desire to quit smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic a new, safe and accessible way to do so.

Florence is able to scale seamlessly and to talk to many individual people around the world and is available 24/7 with no wait times, as a simple video stream from the cloud to any device.

With Florence, smokers can engage with a digital health worker to develop a quit plan. She also serves as a source for information and guidance during this process.

Initially available in English, Florence will eventually be available in all six official UN languages.

Soul Machines cofounder and chief business officer Greg Cross says, “We are pleased to partner with the WHO to help reimagine the massive challenge of how to scale health communication in a high-trust way as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise globally.”

According to Cross, Florence represents a reimagining of how technology and AI can serve as a health communications and engagement platform.

Soul Machines is committed to a continued exploration of this health mission on a global scale to help people take a more proactive role in their well-being and better and more easily manage their own health by engaging with trusted information, he says.

Cross added, “We congratulate the WHO on leading the world in the application of AI in public health. Bold innovation is required to help close the gap in access to health care.

"Florence will play an essential role - she will share the WHO’s life-saving information to improve the health of people when services across the globe are under extreme pressure.

“We’d like to thank Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud for their support in enabling Florence to work at scale as WHO’s global digital health worker.”

WHO director of health promotion Dr Ruediger Krech says, “The next-generation technology used by Florence will help the world's 1.3 billion tobacco users access the reliable information they need to quit tobacco - helping to protect them from a potentially severe case of COVID-19 and many other diseases.”