Medicine

Alexa Can Now Answer Your Medical Questions

Alexa Can Now Answer Your Medical Questions

Amazon's Alexa will soon be answering medical questions asked by United Kingdom users, thanks to a partnership with the country's National Health Service (NHS).

The NHS is collaborating with Amazon to help patients, especially the elderly, visually-impaired or those who can not access the Internet through traditional means, to get professional, NHS-verified health information using voice commands, the official release notes.

From this week, Amazon's algorithm is able to answer voice questions such as "Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?" and "Alexa, what are the symptoms of chickenpox?" using information verified by the NHS website.

This could also reduce pressure on the NHS and local Global Positioning System.

"This scheme will likely result in people being profiled and targeted by data brokers based on their deeply personal health concerns".

According to CNET, the company won't share data from the NHS program with third parties, nor will it sell or recommend products based on health information.

Privacy campaigners said that while making it easier for people to access reliable medical advice was a step in the right direction, they were concerned about the partnership and its implications.

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He said that he did not own an Alexa-enabled device "and I wouldn't want one", adding: "I don't want one because I think there is an essential humanity that we have got to preserve". And by 2020 it is estimated that half of the searches will be through voice-assisted technology.

"Amazon is an organization with a worrying track record when it comes to how they deal with their customers' information", said Privacy International.

"Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we want to embrace the advances in technology to build a health and care system that is fit for the future and NHSX will drive this revolution to bring the benefits to every patient, clinician and carer".

'Healthcare is made inaccessible when trust and privacy is stripped away, and that's what this awful plan would do. "It's a data protection disaster waiting to happen", Carlo said, as quoted by The London Times.

Responding to a tweet that called the plans "outrageous" because of the shortage of GPs, Mr Hancock said: 'What about we use technology as well as hiring more GPs?

Amazon has provided assurances that it won't target users for advertisement, or do any of those unscrupulous things that people are anxious about, but in an age where we tend not to trust corporate promises but instead regulate, this is likely to be big news for a while.