Submitted by Paras Raj Maheshwari, Research Intern on combating COVID-19 with the help of AI.
We are currently in a world where we can say that artificial intelligence is at a useful level and considering all the benefits attached to its usage can help humans in tackling even very tricky situations with utmost ease and in very little time. Thus, it will be essential if we are able to incorporate AI in the times of social distancing to benefit the humankind and keep our respective country’s economies afloat.
Using AI for tracking the early signs of the outspread of this pandemic may prove to be helpful by studying locations and texts exchanged between peoples, as detecting the source of this virus can actually help our doctors and scientists to find a cure for this pandemic. A thorough analysis of acquired data and information stakeholders can get legal access to can help in discovering some potentially vital things about the virus. Due to the uncertainty of the source and the nature of procurement with respect to the spreading of disease, it has become a mammoth task to develop a vaccine. Thus, resulting in a daily increasing number of deaths being reported due to this disease. Also, AI can help substantially in evaluating how this disease should be approached to contain and reduce the spread to a larger number of people.
AI can help in many multi-faceted ways to help humankind in fighting this disease and help people to stay vigilant and safe. We can remember the uses of AI as 4Ds, which are mentioned as follows -
Diagnosing risks – Governments can use maps showing the hot spots and affected areas and update them in real-time which would help both the citizens and healthcare workers to spot and monitor the disease efficiently. This can reduce the chances of community spread significantly which will be a huge relief.
Doubt clearing - virtual assistance software can be developed to help the citizens of respective countries where they can learn about prevention of the disease and the symptoms relating to it. These apps can also be used to eliminate confusions regarding false news and treatments, to prevent rumours. One such rumour, that drinking methanol protects from coronavirus claimed lives of 300 people.
Delivering services - automated and contact-less deliveries of essential items will help people and there will be less and less number of people outside their homes, which in itself is the biggest precaution one can take.
Drug discovery – scientists and doctors can run thousands of tests virtually in very little time to work different permutations and combinations towards finding a vaccine safe enough to test on humans. Without advanced use of AI, it typically takes 18-22 months of extensive research to develop a vaccine for a new virus.
The United States of America which seems to be worst hit by the coronavirus as per the current number of cases and the daily increasing death toll has become successful in developing a vaccine which can possibly cure the disease, in less than 6 months of the outbreak, by taking the help of an AI software developed by one of the private entity of the nation. The vaccine although is still in its primary stage, still it’s a big relief that we are at least moving on a right path. In the end, we can conclude that AI is one such technology which can actually help the humankind a lot in these difficult times.
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