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How AI is helping fight COVID-19

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Artificial intelligence, also known by its acronym AI, is something that many of us are quite afraid of.  It’s the ability for machines to think like humans and ultimately to think for themselves.  It’s a technology that has been rapidly developing for years and in the future machines and robots may even make better decisions than humans - this has already happened in cases of robots and computers beating humans at games like chess!

Why do we fear AI?

Many of us fear AI will eventually become so powerful and intelligent that it can take over the human race and become superior.  It sounds like something of science fiction movies, but remember, AI itself was once just that.

In the foreseeable future, we are worried AI will replace many of our jobs, thus affecting our livelihoods and causing stark levels of unemployment.  But perhaps the increase in use of AI introduces new opportunities - new roles for technicians, scientists and developers.  It will also allow us to take on more creative roles and invest our time into our ambitions and passions.  Perhaps the dangerous and undesirable jobs can be taken over by AI, leaving us with new roles and opportunities that are better suited to train future generations for.

Maybe we should not fear artificial intelligence, but embrace it.  It has already proven to be so helpful in assisting us with mundane repetitive jobs, so instead we can utilise our unique human creativity and imagination.  It’s also capable of processing vast amounts of information quickly and accurately, removing human error and saving time to make us more productive.  In recent times AI has been able to assist us in the fight against COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the world.

How artificial intelligence is helping in the fight against coronavirus

Artificial intelligence is, hopefully, not something to be feared.  It has so many uses in the workplace, including all the sectors that are needed in the fight against COVID-19.  AI is helping right now during the pandemic to manufacture medicine, vaccines, ventilators and other vital equipment and testing, as well as analysing data effectively.

  • Analysing data

It’s being used in conjunction with machine learning to allow machines to sort through large volumes of data to quickly recognise patterns, symptoms and how the virus is spreading.  This sort of technology aids us nowadays in fighting dangerous pandemics and protecting our species.  It’s something previous generations did not have access to and such a pandemic would have proven a lot more deadly.

“In the fight against COVID-19, organizations have been quick to apply their machine learning expertise in several areas: scaling customer communications, understanding how COVID-19 spreads, and speeding up research and treatment.” World Economic Forum

  • Manufacturing vital equipment

Robots that use artificial intelligence and machine vision assist in the manufacturing of essential equipment like ventilators to treat patients and even face masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.  Machine vision systems like on this website manufacture medicines and vaccines, working faster than a human workforce to increase productivity and give accurate results.

  • Temperature screening

AI-powered thermal imaging tools are being used to quickly and accurately identify those with a high temperature - a symptom of COVID-19.  Thermal imaging cameras convert heat into visible light. Fever screening can measure body temperatures in just one second, even in groups of people, and is accurate to within ±0.3℃.

  • Preventing the need for human to human contact

Robots are even helping to save lives in Chinese hospitals by delivering food and medicine to the patients to minimize human contact with those infected.  The robots can take patients temperatures and even disinfect areas.  Stopping human to human contact in this way helps to successfully slow the spread of the virus and prevent the human hospital staff lives being put at risk.  Perhaps robots in UK hospitals will be commonplace in the near future.

Utilising technology to prevent human to human contact during a highly contagious virus will save lives and allow a much more successful social distancing programme to take place.  Amazon Prime Air have already tested delivering goods using drones, so perhaps it won’t be long until vital medicines and supplies are delivered to patients in need without any human contact or possibility of this virus, or a future virus, spreading at all.

AI - the unsung heroes

It’s incredible when you realise the extent of artificial intelligence and modern technology in curbing the spread of coronavirus and even in treating patients.  This article barely scratches the surface of how AI has assisted in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The robots themselves and of course the creators of this incredible intelligence are the unsung heroes in the fight against COVID-19.

AI is not a tecnology for us to currently fear, but to embrace.