SK Telecom relieving health services with AI check-in calls during quarantine
In South Korea, use of technology to enforce a strict quarantine and thorough disease tracing has exceeded that of almost any other country. A mandatory 14-day quarantine period is imposed on those travelling to the country from abroad, or anybody who is known to have come into contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient.
As part of this quarantine, the locked down citizens will receive a phone call from health service professionals twice a day, monitoring any potential symptoms and gathering data on the spread of disease.
Now, SK Telecom is deploying its AI voice service, named Nugu, to help automate these check-in calls, lowering the strain on healthcare workers.
Nugu will ask the patients questions about their health and can comprehend answers more complex than simply ‘yes’ and ‘no’. The AI can then process these answers, sending the data to health professionals in the form of a spreadsheet.
The service has received a limited rollout so far, only being used for around 1,500 residents of the South Gyeongsang Province, but there is scope for wider deployment if permission can be attained from local authorities around the country.
Not unlike Amazon’s Alexa, Nugu, or ‘who’ in Korean, was originally released in 2016 as an in-home voice-activated AI assistant, which customers could use to turn on local digital devices or search the internet. Its deep-learning framework would allow the Nugu to gradually improve its speech recognition accuracy.
The repurposing of Nugu is one of many examples of telcos pivoting to help beleaguered health services during the pandemic, but it is also a demonstration of the effectiveness of AI-empowered automation. As 5G matures, such technologies will become more and more prominent, revolutionising industry and reshaping the business world.
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