Covid-19! Apparently, this harmless word has bought our beloved planet into its knees. With millions of people infected and a few million dead, we are witnessing a situation that we have never witnessed before. Due to this SARS COV2, most of the world went into a lock-down mode, and all the activities were stopped eventually. Millions of people lost their jobs, few thousands went into severe depression, as they had to stay indoors for several months. Once busy streets are now completely empty, cities that were known for their hustle and bustle are now silent and deserted, sometimes you could only hear the sirens of ambulances. Basically, the world turned upside down.
So, the researchers and the scientists soon scrambled into action and started trying to understand the nature of this deadly virus and how it spreads. This obviously led to the “Race to invent a vaccine” and soon, finding the vaccine became a matter of national pride. However, technology started to provide help in order to understand the nature of the infection and the virus. During the heydays of the infection, AI was scrambled into action to work behind the scenes, assisting humans in this massive endeavor.
Machine learning, the main driving force behind AI, soon started to take large amounts of data to detect the patterns in the data. This eventually allowed the technology to predict the future outcome and also revealed other insights about the said data.
How AI is Helping to Track the Spread of Covid-19
After the first reported case in China, an Artificial Intelligence company developed a program that alerted the planet about the virus. This program was mainly designed to locate, track, and predict infectious disease. It works by combining the knowledge of epidemiologists and AI who can identify how and where to look for the evidence. After a daily analysis of thousands of reports, it sends out alerts to health care, business, government and public health officials.
Artificial Intelligence Powered Contact Tracing Apps
Contact tracing apps were first adopted in Asia. Countries like South Korea, China, and India are using these apps to determine the risk of cross-infection and then alert users of risks. The way these apps work may vary, but normally they track the users’ location and whereabouts so that they can detect close contact with other users. These apps can also identify the most vulnerable regions, people, and countries, helping governments to prepare for the worst. However, concerns have been raised about the use of these contact tracing apps, specifically due to privacy-related reasons and the possibility of government surveillance on individuals.
Artificial Intelligence is being used in the healthcare sector for many years, that too for multiple ranges of applications and it also has faced some kind of resistance. As Artificial Intelligence has access to a patient’s medical data, it raises many questions on the confidentiality factor. This soon became a matter of debate, when the NHS handed over as much as 1.6 million patient records to a Google-owned company. Still, the SARS COV2 has spread so quickly, AI is now being considered as a very important tool to fight the virus.
Artificial Intelligence Powered Robots are Minimizing Human Contacts
Since the pandemic broke, a range of AI robots came into existence to reduce contacts between health workers and patients. Thus, minimizing health hazards.
Currently, robot dogs in the US are helping doctors to assess patients in US hospitals. These robots are now being used to avoid any close contact with the patients. Chinese organizations are using robots and drones in order to perform contactless deliveries and to spray disinfectants to minimize the risk of infection. Whereas few robots are being used to serve food and medicines to the patients, whereas some are being used to dispensing hand sanitizer, checking for fever, and any other COVID symptoms.
Testing with the Help of Artificial Intelligence
More and more testing is the key to stop the spread of COVID-19. Countries like South Korea and Germany were able to handle the spread of the virus due to the massive number of testing that was conducted during the initial days of the pandemic. However, the testing often consumes time and it is also labor-intensive. So, Artificial Intelligence is now helping in various other forms of testing, which include x-ray scanning. There are few AI programs that can look for abnormalities in the lungs and can provide a risk evaluation much faster than its human counterpart.
So, in the end I can say Artificial Intelligence has made a significant impact when it comes to fighting the pandemic. It is quite useful to identify early signs of infection due to SARS COV2 and helps to monitor patients. It is not only helpful to track and treat patients but when it comes to proper health monitoring, it also helps to a large extent. So, once the battle with this pandemic is over, Artificial Intelligence will take a much more prominent seat in the health care sector.