Making Science

Arthritis Research UK uses IBM Watson AI to provide advice and information for sufferers

Tyrone Stewart

British medical research charity Arthritis Research UK has teamed with IBM to introduce a Watson-powered virtual assistant that provides advice and information for people living with arthritis.

Using IBM’s Watson Conversation API, the charity says it has found ‘an innovative way for people with arthritis to quickly and easily get answers to questions’, while Watson learns from each interaction. The virtual assistant will be supported by the charity’s information and enquiries team, who will be on hand ‘to help answer detailed or complex questions’.

Liam O'Toole, CEO at Arthritis Research UK, said: “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.”

The virtual assistant will be accessible on mobile and desktop, without the need to download an app, via the Arthritis Research UK website. The charity hopes to eventually leverage Watson’s cognitive voice input/output and location services.