Over the years, technology has grown to a point where it is already an essential part of consumers' daily lives. Advancements in artificial intelligence alongside machine learning makes it possible for smart devices to perform complex tasks and answer questions. However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic reminds people that certain types of tech still have some limitations. This was highlighted by a report about a Michigan woman dying from COVID-19 purportedly communicated with Amazon's Alexa to help her before she passed away.
According to the details published by People, LouAnn Dagen, who tested positive for SARS-COV-2 passed away last Saturday. She is a resident of a nursing home in Cedar Springs, Michigan and is one of the 31 being cared for by the staff. She supposedly died in the emergency room after she was transferred to Mercy Health Saint Mary's Hospital when her conditioned worsened.
It was apparently her sister, Penny Dagen, who recovered approximately 40 recordings wherein LouAnn interacted with the voice assistant. She was allegedly using an Amazon Echo Show to ask for help on how to manage her pain. The manufacturer explains that devices with Alexa support built-in are programmed to save audio interactions. This is supposedly used to "improve the accuracy of your interactions with Alexa."
The medical findings noted that she had multiple underlying health problems which likely contributed to her COVID-19 complications. Among those indicated are hypertension, a store 10 years ago, and diabetes. As such, the cause of death listed by the medical examiner is "coronavirus infection, diabetes, and hypertension."
LouAnn reportedly contacted her sister to talk about what she was experiencing. Unfortunately. the latter could not do anything except to explain that there was nothing she could do to help her manage her pain. It was probably when the patient opted to use her Echo Show instead to ask Alexa for other pain-management alternatives. This likely continued up to the days leading up to her being taken to the hospital. Data shows that the state of Michigan has recorded 20,220 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 958 deaths.