France launches AI voice assistant to help coronavirus patients

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective mask walks past a sign that reads “Courage”, in Paris as a lockdown is imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, April 25, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – French researchers on Monday launched a voice assistant that can help callers suffering from potential coronavirus symptoms and direct them towards emergency services or their doctors using artificial intelligence.

Anybody in France can now ring the “AlloCovid” service developed by French research institute INRIA, the University of Paris and French railway company SNCF, the group said.

On the line, a female voice greets callers with “Bonjour, I’m your virtual AlloCovid assistant … Are you ready to start the questionnaire?”

Callers are asked for their postcode but not their name. Depending on their symptoms and pre-existing conditions, they are directed to the right professionals.

Developers hope the voice assistant,

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Microsoft wins five-year deal with Coca-Cola to supply business software

FILE PHOTO: Coca Cola plastic bottles or seen on the production line of the Coca Cola factory in Nairobi, Kenya, June 7, 2018. Picture taken June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) on Monday said it had won a five-year deal with Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) to supply business software, including its Teams chat app and tools for customer service agents.

The companies did not disclose the size of the deal but said it will include Dynamics 365, a suite of Microsoft tools that competes directly with Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N).

Microsoft has a stronghold in general-purpose business software such as email and word processing apps but has been working to win more customers for its specialized software such as apps used by customer service and sales employees.

James Phillips, the corporate vice president for Microsoft’s business applications group, told Reuters in an

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French lawmakers cry foul as government redraws coronavirus app debate

PARIS (Reuters) – Lawmakers from France’s ruling party accused their own government on Monday of withdrawing a vote on a planned coronavirus tracing app, saying they had been robbed of a chance to raise privacy concerns.

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask rides a metro as a lockdown is imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris, France, April 26, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

The government last week bowed to pressure from MPs and promised a parliamentary debate and vote on the “StopCovid” smartphone software, which is designed to warn users if they come into contact with infected people.

But over the weekend, prime minister Edouard Philippe wrote to the lower house speaker, saying he wanted to broaden the debate scheduled for April 28-29 to cover the government’s entire strategy on ending coronavirus lockdowns.

A government source defended the decision on Monday, telling

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Broadcom offers to scrap exclusivity deals to end EU antitrust probe

FILE PHOTO: Broadcom Limited company logo is pictured on an office building in Rancho Bernardo, California May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. chipmaker Broadcom has offered to settle an EU antitrust investigation into its exclusivity deals with TV and modem makers, EU antitrust regulators said on Monday, a move that would stave off a possible hefty fine.

Broadcom, which makes chips to power smartphones, computers and networking equipment and is a major supplier to Apple, found itself in EU competition enforcers’ crosshairs over its deals with six companies to buy chips exclusively or almost exclusively from it.

That triggered an investigation in June last year and an order to stop such deals until the end of the probe on whether such practices were aimed at squeezing out rivals.

Broadcom has now pledged not to offer incentives to TV and modem makers to encourage them to acquire more

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