Role of AI in helping us fight the COVID-19 pandemic

Artificial intelligence (AI) has numerous applications in almost every field now. AI is transforming human lifestyles by solving several issues that require heavy computations with minimal or no human intervention. AI in health care is also on the rise because it helps overcome several traditional and new problems with data-driven decision making. AI, paired with advanced analytics and machine learning (ML) algorithms, is already used to detect patterns from datasets to extract valuable insights. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every country and has taken a toll on almost everyone’s life in one way or the other. Every industry, including governments, health care, retail, banking, insurance, and production, is in a state of turmoil. Over the past few months, we have seen numerous applications of AI and machine learning in a supporting role to help humanity tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are some of the crucial applications of AI in tackling COVID-19:

AI vs. COVID-19: As a data mining tool

Using AI to analyze the current pandemic trends, develop a potential treatment or new vaccine, or forecast virus hotspots is just one side of the coin. This ongoing pandemic can also help us build AI models and a knowledge-base that can help us deal with future pandemics.

All the data being analyzed now will help in creating such AI models. Although not every model might be useful in dealing with COVID-19, they still are valuable assets we are building using AI. Researchers and pharmaceuticals heavily rely on AI to help the health-care sector fight the ongoing pandemic by mining better insights out of the available data.

To diagnose patients

AI independently cannot diagnose patients, but it is helping hospitals and medical facilities speed up treatment. With the growing number of cases rising every day, researchers and health-care practitioners are being provided with huge volumes of potentially useful data about the pandemic.

Several organizations, including universities, public and private firms, and independent subject-matter experts, are using AI to extract valuable information from these datasets. They are also using AI and machine learning to find the common patterns in the spread of the disease.

AI for COVID

Hospitals have started using AI to fasten the process of diagnosis and to detect signs and symptoms. While we cannot completely rely on AI to detect the potentially infected, we can use it to significantly pace up the process with efficiency. Moreover, AI has always played a vital role in finding novel drugs to treat COVID-19. The same AI and ML are also used to identify the substances that can potentially fight the virus or other pathogens. These technologies together can also quicken the process of filtering through large online literature about the viruses to help us fight against them. The same has been done in the current COVID-19 pandemic, where pharmaceuticals were developed by utilizing data of other viruses and their structure to help find vaccines for the disease.

In analysis

AI is being used as a tool to understand the patterns of spread of the disease. It is also being applied to forecast the potential rise/decline in COVID-19 cases. It is also used as a tool to predict the potential rise in the number of cases based on the existing data.

Based on several factors such as geolocation data and the spread of the disease, AI is also helping health-care facilities track the age-groups most affected and most at-risk. A few governments are also believed to use AI to track if a COVID-19 affected individual is following self-isolation and quarantine rules.

Forecasting

Social distancing measures are in place in almost all pandemic-affected regions. A few countries have formulated the need for social distancing and lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 using AI. Artificial intelligence is playing a vital role in forecasting the potential rise and decline in the number of cases, which helps governments take measures to control the spread of disease.

COVID-19 has also affected and has greatly impacted several countries’ economies and has jeopardized businesses. By feeding granular information such as the daily number of cases being reported and the number of people recovering from COVID-19, AI-bots can predict a potential date by which the spread of disease can come to a halt.

Customer service

One of the lesser talked about areas where artificial intelligence has been helping us immensely is in customer service. During these chaotic times, AI is replacing actual employees in several hospitals and health-care facilities worldwide, serving customers in first-line support.

ai covid

For instance, AI can record all the symptoms from individuals, acting as a virtual health-care facilitator. Based on these symptoms, the systems can classify an individual as potentially affected and provide the data to health-care experts for further actions. Several AI-bots are being employed to serve as online virtual assistants to help clear misconceptions about COVID-19 concerning the spread and symptoms. They are also being used to give precautionary measures on how to stay safe and avoid being infected.

AI: A key weapon against COVID

The ongoing pandemic has allowed us to realize the potential of technologies such as AI and ML to serve as a triage tool. AI has been useful in several countries to predict the outbreaks, spread of disease, control, and recovery graphs. With the number of affected people crossing millions in some countries, analyzing all these data without using technology can be next to impossible. AI has been serving humanity in several areas and has been serving as a powerful weapon against COVID-19.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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