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Do Chatbots Dream of Electronic Antidotes?

When it comes to Coronavirus updates, there is a wide gap between the high-level information published by government agencies and specific, actionable information that individuals need. This gap is the ideal breeding ground for misinformation, disinformation and ultimately widespread confusion.

Mass media and social media are great for distributing information with a broad stroke, but they’re not suited for personalized communications. Chatbots can uniquely contribute to epidemic information in a variety of ways that other comms tools have proven to fail, and here’s why:

Your Personal Advisor

Chatbots engage in one-on-one, contextual conversations with consumers. A chatbot can inform users about highly specific information: cases reported in the neighborhood, designated hospitals in the area, local hotline information, alerts from the city or county. Even better, chatbots can advise at-risk (e.g. recent travelers) or infected individuals with the immediate course of action while urgently notifying the concerned authorities and others in the community. It’s as if every individual has a personal, knowledgeable and well-informed advisor to deal with this critical issue.

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Chatbots also help health authorities to receive accurate information from individuals, speeding up response times and enabling rapid interventions.

Even better, bots can share the most current info without the need for app updates and page refreshes. These factors will be essential to managing the virus.


A bot’s greatest advantage is that it can be replicated instantly. There is never a shortage of artificial intelligence medical personnel. Human doctors, on the other hand, can only be replaced by other human doctors – there will always be a finite number of human doctors. Replicating and transferring expertise among humans takes a lot of time. By comparison, deploying data to new bots takes virtually no time. In a matter of minutes, a chatbot will gain the knowledge that it would take a human eight years to learn in medical school.

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Often, the media and social media spread fear before they give viewers usable information. Chatbots help calm individuals by giving them specific, accurate, unbiased and actionable information.

Chatbots are capable of deriving “sentiment analysis” from natural language, and the AI underneath can simulate conversation with a little bit of empathy. Would I go so far as to say they are a good replacement for doctors or nurses?

No, but chatbots can be beneficial in helping patients deal with their situation better when staff is overstretched or patients are quarantined.


We are already seeing that AI can figure out transmission paths to identify how the virus is spreading, as well as define behaviors and best practices to stall or lessen transmission.

Chatbots can instantaneously communicate these new finds to researchers through any device of your choosing. In the future, chatbots will be instrumental in guiding researchers through every step of the scientific process from discovery to cure.

The Only Thing Bots Can’t Do

Bots can’t get sick; they are exempt from all diseases and viruses that affect humanity. Thanks to a bot’s inherent immunity, it can interact with humans in virtually any situation. While it is entirely feasible a chatbot can obtain a digitally implemented virus that is a topic for another discussion.

In Sum

As the world faces novel and destructive challenges, be it a brush fire in California or a widespread viral epidemic, we will need to find outside-of-the-box solutions for how to consistently keep communications on track. Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence are the paths forward for reliable information distribution because they remove needless stress on humans who can focus their efforts on search and rescue, food/resource deployment, or whatever the circumstances may be.

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