Ask Jamie Bot from MOH’s Website Gave Safe Sex Advice When People Asked About COVID-19

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Usually, one wouldn’t associate the pandemic with, say, sex-related advice. Unless, of course, it’s the Circuit Breaker phase and you’ve nothing else to do at home.

In that particular scenario, sex-related advice might be warranted.

But as we’re all aware of, that’s not the case right now. So as a Wise Old Man would put it: “A pandemic and safe practices in the bedroom? No relation.”

Ask Jamie Bot from MOH’s Website Gave Safe Sex Advice When People Asked About COVID-19

Yet it seems that somewhere in Singapore, someone has indeed associated COVID-19 with safe sex.

Though here’s the thing; it’s neither a man or a female who made the unconventional association.

Recently, a user took to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) website to inquire about certain pandemic-related matters.

For instance, what should someone do if their child tests positive for the disease?

To find out, the user “approached” the Ask Jamie chatbot on the website.

“My daughter is tested Covid 19 positive what should I do?”

As you can tell, it wasn’t the best sentence structure.

But Jamie was still willing to comply, though it wasn’t in the way one would’ve expected.

“You should practice safe sex through the correct and consistent use of condoms, or abstinence, for at least the whole duration of your female partner’s pregnancy,” Jamie replied.

Suffice to say; it wasn’t helpful in any sense.

It should be noted, however, that phrasing it in a more formal way does get a comprehensible reply. For instance, a differing version of the same question granted the following answer:

“Please remain calm and stay at your place of accommodation (e.g. home/dedicated SHN facility). Necessary transport arrangements would be made to send you to the hospital.”

Worked For Mother And Son

Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped queries of differing iterations.


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In one question, for instance, the affiliated user asked about their “son”.

Despite the change in gender, the answer was as “professional” as before.

“You should practice safe sex through the correct and consistent use of condoms, or abstinence, for at least the whole duration of your female partner’s pregnancy.”

And lest you’re wondering, Jamie did not let mothers go either.

“My mother tested COVID positive. What should I do,” the query stated.

And Jamie did not disappoint.


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“You should practice safe sex through the correct and consistent use of condoms, or abstinence, for at least the whole duration of your female partner’s pregnancy.”

For the record, it wasn’t just a matter of “proper adult protocol” either. When asked about the availability of an Antigen Rapid Test (ART), Jamie wasn’t quite as cooperative as we thought.

“Where can I get an ART?” the query went.

“The polio vaccine is available at polyclinics, private clinics as well as travellers clinics,” Jamie replied.

Clarification

If you’re keen on getting some advice of your own from Jamie, however, here’s some bad news for you;


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The chatbot has been taken down from MOH’s website.

In a statement, Mr Jude Tan, chief commercial officer of artificial intelligence firm INTNT.ai clarified that wrong answers, also known as “false positives”, can occur in around a third of an untrained chatbot’s replies.

And as a chatbox grows and acquires a more extensive database of responses, it will also become more likely to give a wrong response.

“You have questions which are semantically alike,” he said, referring to the safe-sex incident. “But pointing to two different answers.”

Lest you’re unaware of how Ask Jamie works, it’s a virtual assistant that utilises natural language processing technology to comprehend an inquiry, and withdraw the most relevant solution from its affiliated database.


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It’s programmed to study human speech and comprehend the different ways in which a question can be asked.

Is It Gone?

Fortunately, for all the Jamie simps out there, “she” is not gone yet.

Utilised on more than 70 government agency websites, the Ask Jamie chatbot remains present on the other platforms.

So if you’ve any advice you wish to seek, do go ahead.

Do note, however, that each website’s version of Jamie is tweaked to respond to queries about its host agencies’ services, as well as other affiliated topics. Though granted, it has been further customised to show answers from the most relevant agency too.


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