Artificial intelligence ‘can help fight virus’

ARTIFICIAL Intelligence and emerging technologies are being used to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Technology has taken centre stage in the fight and forecasting of Covid-19, with professionals around the world taking voluntary steps to disseminate and guide organisations on transformation towards AI and its use to combat the pandemic.

Bahrain-based AI expert and president of the Artificial Intelligence Society Dr Jassim Haji has started a unilateral effort through online presentations and webinar sessions to organisations and tech media outlets around the Gulf on the importance of using the technology to develop algorithms to forecast and predict the spread of the virus.

Dr Haji told the GDN that organisations can use AI to support strategies through predicting patterns and analysis, which are essential as the crisis has reached critical proportions.

“Research on the use of machine learning to evaluate and optimise strategies for social distancing between communities, cities and countries to control the spread of epidemics, detecting pattern, forecasting and prediction, while robotic use is already in practice,” said Dr Haji.

“Its primary strength is the way it increases our capacity to predict and therefore plan for events and circumstances, considering that one of the most important ways to save lives in disasters is to have early warning, there’s a lot good technology can do.

“The mere potential of AI isn’t just in predicting that a disaster will happen but in forecasting where it will have the most impact, which systems are likely to fail, and what communities are in the most danger.

“This data can be used to improve decision-making about the issuing of building permits and insurance.”

Dr Haji also advised organisations to focus on social media, explaining that when natural or epidemic disasters have occurred people on the frontline have often turned to social media and ad hoc volunteer groups instead of relying on government aid or traditional charitable organisations.

He said that communities have proven that they are capable of coming together in the face of a disaster when aid does not come quick enough.

“Nearly all social media platforms already rely on machine learning algorithms for advertising, but additional AI functionality could be of great assistance during disasters, helping both ordinary people and first responders keep up to date and organised,” he explained.

“Deployed in the right way, existing timeline algorithms could be used to deliver and distribute information where it is most needed or AI could be used to scrape information from millions of social media posts and clue rescue workers in to the hardest hit areas and people in the most need.”

According to international reports, a San Francisco-based health insurance startup is using an algorithm to identify patients most at risk of contracting Covid-19.

While researchers at the University of California are using wearable rings made by health tech company Oura to track healthcare workers’ vital signs for early indications of the virus.




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