logo Vivek Asrani
July 28, 2020
6 Min Read

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Fighting Against COVID-19 Pandemic
logo Vivek Asrani
July 28, 2020 | 6 Min Read

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Fighting Against COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. Gone are the days when physical contact was a norm for human beings. Today, the situation has become so grave that people fear to get out of their houses. Lockdowns and virtual contact have become quite common. However, with the advancement in technology, we are seeing Artificial Intelligence (AI) play a prominent role in assisting the limitation of human knowledge in this massive endeavor.

When we talk about advancement in technology, there are some live examples of AI being part of our lives. Everyone across the globe is now connected to AI in some form or the other. Examples are Siri, Tesla, Netflix, Watson, Echo, etc. AI technology is still in its infancy stage, but more and more companies are investing resources in learning machines. This trend indicates a radical growth in AI apps and products now and in the future.

Let’s now look at the global statistics about how far artificial intelligence has progressed in recent years according to a research paper published by Dr. Mayanka Sharma.

  • In 2014, $300 million was invested in Artificial Intelligence startups; it showed an increase of 300%.
  • By 2018, 6 billion connected devices proactively asked for support
  • By the end of 2018, customer digital assistants recognized customers by face and voice across channels.
  • 15% of Apple phone owners’ now use Siri’s voice recognition capabilities.
  • AI has replaced 16% of American jobs.

Now, since you have understood how artificial intelligence has progressed in recent years, let’s divert our attention to the benefits that we can derive from artificial intelligence during the lockdown.

Benefits of Artificial Intelligence during Lockdown

Everyone today knows that artificial intelligence is being used to design machines that have the ability to think. In simple words, it can be said that AI is the intelligence of machines. With the help of AI, the process to carry out manual tasks will reduce to a greater extent.

The other thing is, today every business sector uses computers and humans are highly dependent on it. With the emergence of machine learning-based technology, AI can play a crucial role in response to the lockdown and pandemic. This is especially true in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic currently going on across the globe.

Today, experts are using machine learning to study the virus, test prospective treatments, scrutinize the public health impacts, and diagnose individuals. This way, AI can be employed to test any kind of disease or virus. 

AI apps can be used by professionals to take advantage of audiovisual data, text analysis, censors, and even chatbots. Apart from that, it can even play a crucial role in strategic games like chess, tic tac toe, etc. This will help you to remain busy and have fun during the lockdown period.

1. Low Error Rate

Artificial Intelligence has a low error rate in comparison to human beings. The only thing required is to code them properly. Once it is done properly, experts proclaim that it can be used to make findings during the global pandemics. You will be able to create solutions with AI since it is totally error-free.

AI also gives you incredible speed, accuracy, and precision. The other advantage is, it remains unaffected even by unfriendly environments. You can use them to complete tasks and even endure problems that might kill or injure someone. For example, mining and digging fuels. You can even use it to explore space.

During the pandemic, human movement and capabilities are restricted due to social distancing and lockdowns. Hence, AI can reportedly replace humans in at least the repetitive, tedious, and laborious tasks. With the help of AI, it would become easier to predict what a user will type, search, ask, and even do. It will act as your assistant and direct several actions. A perfect example of this is a smartphone. It can be employed to find fraud in card-based systems.

2. Provide Entertainment

Certain AI applications are employed to interact with humans. Several organize and manage records like AI applications for playing different video games. Robots or Avatars also give tasks to keep one’s company. Robotic pets can also interact with humans.

All these instances assist in reducing the stress, depression, and inactivity that you undergo during the global lockdown. Since there is a restriction of movement, you can engage yourself in any of the AI entertainment applications.

You can use Netflix to remain active. As you can see all genres of movies with the help of Netflix while relaxing at your house instead of going to cinemas in cases of total lockdown. This way, you have access to a hundred percent happy and fulfilling life.

3. Health Benefit

During the lockdown period, maintaining emotional and mental health is very important. AI can be used to prevent health risks and even simulate medical procedures. In the near future, we will see AI being used for robotic radiosurgery and other types of surgery.

AI has the advantage of precision that humans do not. The reason being, AI does not sleep, take breaks, get bored, or tired, unlike humans. And the fact that AI can think logically without emotions helps them make rational decisions with little to no mistakes. That makes them highly useful for adoption by health experts.

4. 24x7 Availability

Every human being needs a break. Normally the productive working hours are between 4 to 6 hours on a daily basis excluding breaks. Humans need time to get refreshments, get their heads out of stress, and get ready for the next workday. However, Artificial Intelligence makes machines work without taking any breaks. They do not get bored like humans.

Today, we are seeing educational institutes and other helpline centers adopting AI to function effectively and handle issues.

Organizations that already have a customer support team can clarify doubts and queries of their customers by setting up a Chatbot and voice bot using Artificial Intelligence. Today several organizations are already using these applications on their websites.

The advantage is, customers do not have to move from their location. All is done from the comfort of their homes. Isn’t that wonderful?

These are some of the benefits of using Artificial Intelligence during the lockdown. Now, let’s go to the last but crucial section of the write-up. Here, we will discuss how Artificial Intelligence can help us fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Role Played by Artificial Intelligence in Fighting against COVID-19 Pandemic

Here’s how AI has been helping human beings to fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Comprehending & Tracking the Spread of COVID-19

A Canadian AI company called BlueDot was the first to develop an AI program that alerted the world about the threat of Coronavirus. This happened after the first case of the COVID-19 pandemic was detected in China on December 31st, 2019. This program was designed to predict infectious diseases and locate & track their spread.

It works by integrating AI with the knowledge of epidemiologists who ascertain how and where to search for evidence of emerging diseases. The amazing thing is, BlueDot scrutinizes more than 100,000 reports daily in different languages and sends out regular alerts to government, health care, business, and public health clients. These alerts give brief information on the anomalous disease outbreaks that are detected by the AI program and the risks it poses.

In Wuhan, China, contact-tracing smartphone apps were introduced quickly after the city was quarantined to restrict the spread of the virus. AI was used along with other technologies to track and flag possible carriers of the virus. AI-powered smart glasses were also used to detect people with fevers in large crowds. These glasses are worn by security guards in Wuhan, where they can scrutinize hundreds of people within a few minutes without making any contact.

Helping with Image Scan Analysis and Reducing Hospital Staff Workloads

Testing has become crucial to fight against COVID-19. The reason for countries like South Korea and Germany to have successfully handled the virus can be attributed to the amount of testing being carried out by them. This is the reason for health authorities to show keenness to increase the number of people getting tested. However, the problem is, the main testing methods are labor-intensive and time-consuming.

However, now AI is assisting different forms of testing like X-ray scanning. There are different AI programs now accessible for chest screening. It can be used to highlight lung abnormalities in a chest X-ray scan and provide a COVID-19 risk evaluation at a faster pace than human radiologists.

Minimizing Contact between Humans

There are a lot of AI-based robots that are being used to reduce contact between patients and healthcare workers. This will minimize the risk of cross-infections. For example, Chinese firms have started using drones to carry out contactless delivery. They are also being used to spread disinfectants in public areas to minimize the risk of cross-infections. Robots are being used to check fever and other COVID-19 symptoms.

Robots are being employed to serve food and medicines to patients and disinfect rooms to minimize contact with human staff.

There are also other examples of AI being used in the form of a robot. In the US, a company called Boston Dynamics has developed a robot dog, known as Spot. This robot is used to reduce the human contact of health workers with contagious patients.

Concluding Thoughts

With the number of COVID-19 cases on a rise as we speak and the vaccine taking time, it is time for us to take stock of the things that are readily available to us to fight this deadly virus.

As you can see from this write-up, there is little debate about the benefits of AI. With the advancement in technology, we will see a bigger role played by AI in fighting against this crisis and help us restore whatever is possible for the future.

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