The world is in the grip of coronavirus (COVID-19) at the moment. Though helpless and hopeless at the outset of the pandemic outbreak, America is slowly but steadily battling its way against the virus and the overwhelming uncertainty surrounding the situation. A major weapon that has been empowering America in its fight against the virus is AI or Artificial Intelligence.
Let us take a look at how AI is helping the country during these turbulent times:
AI Helps Identify a Potential Outbreak
AI can be employed to identify the virus outbreak even before it happens. Information is key during times of such pandemic. With real-time intelligence on virus situations nationally and across borders, states can be better prepared and disastrous consequences can be mitigated.
AI studies and analyzes different content platforms including news channels and social media for news, articles and posts on the virus. It then analyzes developments, tracks virus spread, and warns authorities of possible situations.
AI can Accelerate COVID-19 Diagnosis
A pandemic such as COVID-19 puts million of lives at risk. Several thousands of people are being infected on a daily basis, and diagnosing the symptoms can be a herculean task.
Diagnosing using existing traditional methods though effective is time-consuming, and time is of essence in such situations.
A faster diagnosis enables implementation of solutions faster, which is a crucial step forward in gaining victory over the virus.
AI can be used to speed up COVID-19 diagnosis process. Solutions can be devised (with some already being used by frontline workers) to help medical staff and other frontline workers to detect and diagnose the virus faster without compromising efficiency. Existing systems can be employed to work along with new systems, together leading to more efficiency.
AI solutions can also be designed to work in combination with existing systems and increase their speed. For example, AI solutions can be devised specific to CT imaging systems to increase the speed of diagnosis to less than a minute!
In addition to faster and efficient diagnosis, AI can help reduce the workload of frontline healthcare workers, saving their lives in the process.
AI can Provide Virtual Healthcare
Clearly, healthcare workers are overwhelmed. As a result, responses can sometimes be delayed, which can become life-threatening for the public. Timely response is crucial during such times. AI can help take some stress off from the shoulders of healthcare workers by acting as virtual healthcare agents.
AI systems that provide a range of preliminary protection functions, including answering questions on the virus, offering precautionary guidelines, checking and monitoring symptoms, and extending expert advice on whether people need to visit a hospital or stay indoors as the next step. AI can be programmed to offer such expert help in different languages for the comfort and safety of care seekers.
AI for Assistive Civic and Healthcare Duties
Robots are being employed in hospitals and healthcare centers to sanitize treatment wards and quarantine rooms. Drones are used in delivery of food materials and medicines to isolation wards and are even used in city-wide distribution of essential materials.
Robots are employed to sanitize public spaces. They are also programmed to identify individuals breaking pandemic safety rules such as failing to adorn facemasks and not maintaining appropriate physical distance.
Use of robots and drones eliminates human-to-human contact. By minimizing human contact, spread of COVID-19 can be reduced drastically and eventually arrested.
The key role of AI in the war against COVID-19 presents a strong ray of hope for the present and the future. They justify our belief in life-saving research and technology. They also demonstrate the conviction and innovation of many AI startups whose contributions are proving invaluable during such uncertain times.
Continuing to repose our faith in nurturing AI technologies is crucial for the present and the future. It instills hope, courage and confidence, in the public that the nation is battling COVID-19 with the best available resources. We can also be hopeful that the thoughtful and intelligent use of AI to handle the COVID-19 crisis efficiently would be a stepping stone to preventing pandemics in future.