Skye Fellman says the “impersonal” experience of her COVID-19 diagnosis was taken to a different level when she received a surprise phone call from “Billie”, introducing themselves as a Queensland Health AI assistant.
- Queensland Heath confirmed it is using AI technology as part of a care plan
- Ms Fellman said she confirmed things like her name, vaccination and test status and was given some instructions if her symptoms were to escalate
- Ms Fellman said she had previously attempted to contact Queensland Health and is still without a response
After being tested twice due to “inadequately labelled” results, Ms Fellman received a text message and, 20 minutes later, a phone call.
She said she “didn’t know they even had an AI” system in place, but figured the text was legitimate due to Queensland Health consistently misspelling her name.
“So, I get a call from this very obviously mechanical, AI voice,” Ms Fellman said.
“And they basically just started listing off a few functional questions … to be answered with yes or no.”
Ms Fellman said she confirmed things like her name, vaccination and test status and was given some instructions if her symptoms were to escalate.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath yesterday said authorities were “working on a system” to ensure Queenslanders could report positive rapid antigen tests (RAT), after the PCR testing requirement was scrapped nationally.
“We are looking at all options,” Ms D’Ath said.
“Whatever is going to be quickest and easiest [for] people [to] get their information into a system.”
‘I really don’t think a disembodied AI voice is the way to go’
Ms Fellman said she had previously attempted to contact Queensland Health but had not received a response.
“I actually have questions,” she said.
“The basic things that I feel have been a grey area like: ‘Do I need to be isolating from the day of the test or of the result?’
“It seems like [the call] was more for their records than any actual queries someone with COVID would have.”
Ms Fellman said she saw the humour in talking to Billie, but that other Queenslanders might be more “genuinely concerned”.
Queensland Heath confirmed it is using AI technology as part of a care plan, which includes contacting people isolating at home and that the AI character it is using is called “Billie”.
Authorities ‘still want to know’ about positive results
Ms D’Ath yesterday said authorities were exploring options to give “breathing space” to the state’s overrun testing clinics.
In an attempt to combat long testing lines and delays, advice is changing around who should present for a PCR test.
“We do still want to know that someone’s positive, but that shouldn’t have to be coming and … lining up for hours,” Ms D’Ath said.
“We’re working on a system … so that people will be able to notify us very easily that they have got a positive rapid antigen test.”