ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND CORONAVIRUS
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?
These days the most often heard word, of course apart from COVID, is AI. So, what is AI? Is it a robot like we always thought or is it something else? AI, as per Alan Turing, is a computer exhibiting intelligent behaviour which a human being cannot tell if a computer or another human being has done some task. To simplify it, when a machine mimics the human, it becomes AI.
WHY SO MUCH BUZZ AROUND AI?
There was a general myth that AI is not everyone’s business, and it involves a lot of coding, and it is a job of a software engineer, and that it is a rocket science. Oh yeah, I forgot the best of all, AI is Robots!!
Didn’t I make my point clear when I said MYTH? Yes, I did. Those are all myths and AI is exactly opposite of what we thought it was. It can be learned and applied by anyone with enthusiasm. It doesn’t involve a lot of coding; however, it involves mathematical and statistical skills. It involves the individual to think deeply about a problem and come up with an excellent solution. So, basically it involves machines to be trained by a human to think.
When it was realized that anyone can learn and apply the skill, slowly AI became a buzz word, and people started looking for avenues to learn the skill. We, at Infimind, understood the demand for the skill and started conducting certificate course on AI & ML, a complete package, with which you can land at your dream job after completion.
WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS?
This needs no introduction; however, I’ll try to write what it means in simpler terms.
This is a new virus which is far more dangerous than influenza. Since it is a novel virus, humans don’t have immunity to it yet.
This virus existed in bats, then spread to pangolin, and from there to humans. Now, it is being spread between humans through coughing, sneezing, and touch.
HOW DOES AI ASSIST IN COMBATING COVID-19?
The COVID-19 virus has spread to all the places around the world, thanks to international travellers and business, and has shaken the whole world and it’s economy with the staggering number of infected and dead cases. Almost all the countries in the world have still been battling with the virus in various ways than one can imagine. The problems being infection, death, lockdown, businesses shut, jobs lost, economy having a steep fall.
At this stage, while treating the infected ones in itself is a big challenge, protecting the non-infected ones is the biggest challenge. Along with that, looking for treatment and creating a vaccine for the virus is happening side by side.
While managing the ever-growing number of infected people wasn’t easy, AI came in handy to resolve many issues attached to this pandemic.
AI AND CORONAVIRUS:
A Canada-based AI firm with its algorithm picked the flu-like outbreak in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019, nine days before WHO notified the public. During such outbreaks, timely recognition of the clusters and, if need be, quarantine would have been possible only with AI since timely sensing of outbreak is necessary. Also, the same AI firm, digging into the travel logs of people from China, predicted which countries are in queue to have the virus attack, and they were right on target. This is the first step of AI with corona.
An AI system was trained on chest x-ray reading to identify and detect COVID-19. Not so surprisingly, the AI predicted results with much more accuracy. The chest films were read by AI model and it even captured the minute details, thus making it easier to recognize the positive or negative for COVID. Also, another AI system created can clearly distinguish between a healthy person, infected with pneumonia or COVID with great precision; thus avoiding the chances of false negative.
While the whole world is under the grip of a pandemic, speedy discovery of drug/treatment for the virus becomes the priority. Coronavirus already had complete attention from scientists and drug researchers understanding the virus and how it affects the humans. Medical researchers cannot deny the fact that in any new drug discovery, it takes ample amount of time. Now with this pandemic spreading like wildfire, with the graph of almost all the countries being consistently in the rise, time is crucial, and we aren’t left with 3 years of time to develop a new treatment or vaccine for the virus, which is the usual timeline for a drug discovery. This is a tricky situation, isn’t it??!! This is where artificial intelligence played it’s role, data scientists and AI researchers turned their attention to coronavirus and used AI to do a thorough search of 1000s of medical articles and understood the virus, and came up with a drug that might help as a treatment in a short span of 2 days. Astonishing, isn’t it?? While this post is not claiming anyone to use the drug as a treatment for COVID-19, what I’m trying to say here is AI did help the medical researchers narrow their search and with the algorithm-provided drugs, they can concentrate on to develop a new treatment faster than expected.
AI researchers analysed the symptoms of a large set of people infected with COVID and identified that loss of smell or taste, fever, severe cough, tiredness, and not being hungry to be the major symptoms associated with the large number of people infected with coronavirus. This was published for the awareness of general public to identify the symptoms for getting themselves tested.
AI has been playing a key role in researching for a new vaccine by providing two important inputs. Firstly, AI is understanding the viral protein structure of the virus and thereby suggesting components of the vaccine. Secondly, AI is helping medical researchers scrutinize 1000s of research publications at an unimaginable speed. Knowing speed is the key at this current juncture, AI is doing the best it can do, as always.
Machine learning, a sub-part under artificial intelligence is applied at various hospitals to identify which COVID patient might turn critical and would need ICU care based on several factors like continuous monitoring of vital signs, labs results, and nursing assessment. With the assessment made by AI, it really made the job of the frontliners in monitoring the prone-to ICU patients easily.
AI was even used in the form of robots and deployed at hospitals to take care of the infected patients by giving them food and medicine, thus relieving the pressure off the medical staffs in the hospitals both in the form of work load and the risk of contracting COVID.
Karmi-Bot, developed by a team of 7 people in a span of 15 days, is used in Kerala hospitals to carry food, medical and clinical consumables into the isolation ward. Interestingly, the robots lets the patient video call their doctor and/or relatives.
Mitra, a robot at Fortis Hospital in Bangalore, interacts with the visitors of the hospital using facial and speech recognition to understand the purpose of their visit and also screens them for symptoms of COVID, and later directs them to the relevant department. Using robots at the hospital, avoid human contacts at the initial level, thus ensuring social distancing is maintained.
Chennai used coronavirus themed robots to disinfect the containment zone. The robot could store 30 litres of sanitizers and could effectively disinfect the locality.
Drones are being used to get thermal imagery to identify infected persons and also to monitor if social distancing restrictions are followed by people strictly.
Delivery robots have been of immense help during the lockdown in procuring groceries or getting food delivered. This happened in London.
In an ongoing effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, stringent rules are in place about wearing masks and social distancing while in public places. Robots are again deployed here to ensure all the rules are being followed.
Telengana State has deployed AI integrated with surveillance system to identify the defaulters of mask wearing.
FebriEye, a thermal and vision camera, can measure body temperature and can also detect whether a mask is worn or not by a person. It is modelled to raise an alarm if social distancing isn’t maintained, or if mask is not worn, or if the body temperature is high signalling fever.
The world is in unprecedented condition right now, and it took a while for people to understand the grim situation they are in and the effect of Coronavirus.
A big thanks to all the front line workers such as medical and paramedical staffs and police for working tirelessly during this pandemic situation.
Coronavirus was a point of revelation to many and it shook humans out of many beliefs they had earlier. Coronavirus just didn’t infect our health alone, it also affected our life, job, economical condition to name a few. Since I’m not here to write about the aftereffects of Corona, I’ll stop about it here.
When people face such situations, hope and faith has the ability to get them out of this. Artificial Intelligence proved to be a ray of hope from the time this particular virus came into effect. Right from detecting, preventing, treating, or discovering, Artificial Intelligence has played an immense role.
We, at Infimind Institute, take pride in teaching “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning” course to AI enthusiasts and providing future data scientists to the world. Though this whole article talks about Artificial Intelligence, there was always humans present behind whatever AI did as a task. It was data scientists and engineers who fed the data into the system and churned the desired result.
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More power to Artificial Intelligence!!!!