Baidu, China’s equivalent of Google, has developed a chatbot called “Melody” (originally known as “Project Doctor”), which is designed to help gather information about patients before they see the doctor.
Baidu’s Andrew Ng tells me that the idea behind the medical assistant bot is to help address the shortage of doctors in China. “Health care is cheap so people go in to see a doctor if they have a minor cold,” he says. “That means that people who are in need of a doctors’ attention may not get it.”
The chatbot will ask a series of questions to determine the severity of the symptoms. From there, a doctor will suggest an appropriate course of action whether it’s to see them in person or remain at home.