Apple is doing its bit in the fight against the new coronavirus, and has updated its Siri voice assistant to answer some simple questions about Covid-19, pointing people towards some of the authoritative health resources online.
As reported by CNBC this weekend, voice queries like “hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?” will lead you through a series of quick questions about symptoms such as a dry cough and shortness of breath.
Of course Siri is by no means a replacement for a medical professional, but its answers have been provided by the US Public Health Service, and Siri can direct you to the Centers for Disease Control website or even get you to ring the emergency services.
For the time being this question-and-answer flow is only available in the US, it would appear – if you ask the same questions in the UK, for example, you’ll get pointed to the UK government Covid-19 site immediately.
Tech vs coronavirus
Like the rest of the world, the tech industry is reeling from the impacts of the coronavirus – streaming services are reducing their video quality, major events are being canceled, and many of us are having to switch to remote working software.
At the same time, the biggest names in technology are lending a hand to the efforts to get the spread of Covid-19 under control. Earlier this weekend, it was announced that Apple is donating two million N95 respirator masks to hospitals in the US.
Google has launched its own coronavirus information hub, where you can find details about the virus and Covid-19 – symptoms, treatments and so on. It’s also displaying more relevant links alongside searches around coronavirus.
For the moment it seems as though the launch of products like the iPhone 12 and the PlayStation 5 won’t be delayed by the coronavirus, but it’s going to be a long time before everything gets back to normal.