WHO Health Chatbot Built on 'Humanised' GenAI

World Health Organisation's GenAI digital health tool is built using ‘AI humanisation’ tech & designed to ease burden on health workers & educate on health

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the launch of an AI digital health tool to ease the burden on health workers.

Called Smart AI Resource Assistant for Health (SARAH), the tool is powered by Biological AI, a revolutionary technology that extends the capabilities of generative AI to create the kind of engaging and empathetic responses that is crucial in healthcare. 

The tool was created by US-based ‘AI humanisation’ specialist Soul Machines, and will provide accurate consultation and responses in real-time. It will also engage in dynamic personalised conversations at scale, which accurately mirror human interactions.

The World Health Organisation's AI health tool SARAH is designed to:
  • Reduce the burden on healthcare workers
  • Create judgement free’ consultative environments
  • Drive more people to seek medical attention
  • Minimise bias and discrimination

SARAH can engage users 24 hours a day in eight languages across multiple health topics – including healthy habits and mental health – on any device, says WHO.

It can also help people develop better understanding of risk factors for leading causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes

As well as this, SARAH offers access up-to-date information on quitting tobacco, being active, eating a healthy diet, and de-stressing. 

“The future of health is digital, and supporting countries to harness the power of digital technologies for health is a priority for WHO,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “SARAH gives us a glimpse of how AI could be used in future to improve access to health information in a more interactive way. 

“I call on the research community to help us continue to explore how this technology could narrow inequities and help people access up-to-date, reliable health information.”

WHO AI tool also used during COVID-19 pandemic

A previous iteration of the tool – under the name ‘Florence’ – was used to disseminate critical public health messages during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it broached topics including understanding the virus, vaccines, tobacco use, healthy eating and physical activity. 

WHO continues to use many digital tools and channels to disseminate and amplify health information including social media, chatbots, channels and text messaging.

The organisation is also vocal about the need for continued research into AI, to explore its potential benefits to public health and to better understand the challenges. 

“While AI has enormous potential to strengthen public health it also raises important ethical concerns, including equitable access, privacy, safety and accuracy, data protection, and bias,” Ghebreyesus added.

He continued: “Continuous evaluation and refinement as part of this project emphasise WHO's dedication to bringing health information closer to people, while maintaining the highest standards of ethics and evidence-based content. 

“Developers, policy makers and health care providers need to address these ethics and human rights issues when developing and deploying AI to ensure that all people can benefit from it.”

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