Artificial intelligence, in its many forms, can help us battle the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic that is spreading across the planet’s population at an incredible pace calls for the activation of all resources. Some of those resources are digital and can help us come up with solutions to specific problems with assistance from the AI.
The Nature Of Artificial Intelligence
When we discuss AI in this context, first, we have to figure out how it can be useful. Discussions that question the morals behind using such technology almost seem irrelevant at this point. Not saying that one should allow for the next Skynet to evolve if we let things get out of control, but merely implying how there are more precious issues that need to be solved.
A quick reaction is crucial when it comes to suppressing a pandemic. AI technology can, in fact, work quicker and use fewer resources than a human being can. However, this does not mean that the AI replaces a human being, as it merely functions as our assistant. Things are more complicated than that, more so if we raise the problems of bio-surveillance, but right now - we can use all the help we can get.
Utilizing Artificial Intelligence
There are several aspects in which AI technology can be useful. First of all, we can find the vaccine more quickly if we let AI run simulations. AI can constantly change components that create a vaccine in a simulated environment. Secondly, AI can help us track the disease better. These track records are known as population screening, and they provide a detailed insight into how the coronavirus is spreading.
They can also be used as a method to notify the responsible public service if anyone requests help. This is still a long way from working globally, but the idea is worth exploring, as it could save millions of lives.
Population screening is where AI technology seems the most beneficial. After COVID-19 appeared in China, the first thing that became a part of people’s lives is measuring body temperature. Thermometers and infrared scanners were in the hands of medical personnel, as they were checking every single person for fever in the city of Wuhan. Soon after, this practice became more and more present all around the world.
One Chinese company developed an AI-thermometer. One thing that is quite spectacular about this technology is the fact that it can measure people’s body temperature from a distance. This alone changes two critical factors when it comes to population screening.
First, the medical personnel would not be in constant danger while working on the field, and secondly - more people could be checked for fever in a shorter amount of time. If you have an AI piece of technology on subway and railway stations that can do basic medical diagnostics on a large scale, the battle against the pandemic becomes much more manageable.
Another factor that is clear with the use of AI is the ability to process large amounts of data. Whether it is for vaccine creation or statistics that describe which parts of the population are the most in danger, everything can be done faster with the use of AI. However, one thing that artificial intelligence can not replace as of now is human behavior, primarily responsible behavior.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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