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Arthritis Patients to Get Virtual Personal Assistant

Arthritis Patients to Get 'Virtual Personal Assistant'

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  • There are millions of people in the UK living with arthritis who suffer from severe physical limitations, as they struggle with unanswered questions.
  • Arthritis Research UK has developed a 'virtual personal assistant' using Watson, IBM’s machine learning-based artificial intelligence technology.
  • The technology will provide personalized information quickly, which is easily understood by arthritis sufferers.

A virtual personal assistant using artificial intelligence technology has been developed for people with arthritis, by the Arthritis Research UK. Arthritis Research UK is a leading medical research charity dedicated to curing arthritis.

The new service has been developed using Watson, IBM's machine learning-based artificial intelligence technology. IBM, the global tech company, has opened Watson up for use by external organizations, and Arthritis Research UK used the machine learning technology to develop the virtual personal assistant independently.


IBM Watson focuses on building solutions and programs that use machine learning to improve analysis and increase understanding of data.

This technology is designed to provide personalized information in a form that feels like a natural conversation, both quick and easy, to the arthritis patients. It uses the charity's website.

The virtual personal assistant is now being tested by 300 people after which it will be rolled out to public, using the website, later this year. The new service will be accessible on smartphones and computers, without the need to download an app.

Liam O'Toole, Chief Executive Officer at Arthritis Research UK, explains the reason for development of a virtual personal assistant "We know that there are millions of people in the UK living with arthritis whose lives are severely limited as they struggle with unanswered questions. We want to ensure that everyone has access to information and support, whenever and wherever they need it."

"We're really excited to be working with IBM Watson on this innovative new service that will enable us to have conversations with anyone seeking help, that we simply wouldn't be able to answer so quickly otherwise. We're confident that this new virtual assistant will help more people push back the ways arthritis limits their lives." O'Toole added.

"Arthritis Research UK developed the Watson-powered digital personal assistant themselves, providing a terrific example of how IBM's open, cloud-based Watson development platform is making cognitive computing broadly accessible to organizations and individuals worldwide," explained Cameron Brooks, IBM European Director for Watson in the Public Sector.

"Further, Arthritis Research UK's use of Watson APIs is a model for organizations thinking about how they might integrate cognitive computing into their services in order to positively impact the lives of people living with a serious health condition." Brooks added.

Source: Medindia

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