ML6, specialist in artificial intelligence and machine learning, uses its expertise in the battle against the coronavirus. The company, based in Ghent, has developed an intelligent search robot that mainly helps non-native speakers to find verified genuine information about the virus on the internet. The solution is available via www.corona.ml6.eu, but the scale-up appeals to major web platforms such as news sites and e-commerce platforms to implement the tool in order to improve its reach and accessibility.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is enormous. New guidelines or containment measures are announced on a daily basis and a wealth of information is available on the internet. However, this information is spread over many different websites, some of which are more reliable than others. Finding the right answers can take a lot of time. This is certainly the case for non-native speakers residing in Belgium who are hampered in their search for information by the language barrier.
"Poor information can have a negative impact on citizens' behavior. Keeping people well-informed is and remains an important step in flattening the curve," says Matthias Feys, CTO at ML6. "That's why we built a multilingual COVID-19 AI assistant, powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP). This search engine filters information from the FAQ sections of verified Dutch-language sources such as Voka, Agoria or VRT Nieuws, and provides the user with a correct and clear answer to questions such as "What are symptoms of the virus?" or "Can I go for a walk with a friend?".
For the time being, the database consists only of Dutch sources, but the AI assistant does offer support in 16 languages. For example, it is perfectly possible for non-Dutch speakers to enter a search query in Turkish or German. The tool interprets the question, searches for the correct relevant Dutch information, and provides the user with an answer in his or her native language. In this way ML6 meets the needs of expats and foreigners who also have questions.
In addition, the AI Assistant provides other relevant information at the same time. When asked whether you are still allowed to go outdoors by bicycle, the user will automatically be informed about the possibilities of public transport. So far, the solution has only been used to filter information on Belgian websites. Possibly, the assistant can soon be extended to other countries as well.
Appeal to web platforms
Currently the tool is only available through www.corona.ml6.eu, but ML6 calls on web platforms with high visitor traffic to integrate the solution on their website as well. "ML6 wants as many people as possible to be able to use the AI assistant in their search for correct information about the coronavirus. In doing so we not only give people peace of mind, but we also know that the information they process is verified and can therefore not have any harmful consequences. We count on the goodwill of, for example, news sites or e-commerce platforms to integrate the tool and thus increase its reach. They can contact us for technical support via firstname.lastname@example.org," concludes Matthias Feys.