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AI to play big role in COVID-19 fight in 2021

2020-10-15Source: wuzhenwic.org   Wei Qiulin

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[Photo/Forbes]

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made great contributions to the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic this year and will play a major role in other events that may be encountered in the future.

Recently, Forbes has explored the role AI will play in rebuilding people's lives in the coming year, rethinking business strategies, and responding to possible future epidemics.

Forbes noted that people have witnessed the urgency of quickly analyzing and interpreting data related to the spread of the virus around the world in the current battle against the COVID-19 epidemic.

Governments, global health institutions, academic research centers, and all related industries have worked together to develop new methods of collecting, summarizing, and using information to enable people to access data on COVID-19 infections and deaths around the world in real time.

According to the Fighting COVID-19: China in Action white paper released by the State Council Information Office on June 7, China conducted research and assessments on COVID-19 epidemic trends, carried out epidemiological investigations, found every infected person, traced their close contacts, and isolated them through AI and big data.

With the development of AI technology, an important manifestation of the progress made in medical technology is that the number of scientific and medical literature has increased significantly. As of the end of April this year, more than 28,000 papers related to the COVID-19 have been published.

Next year, the application of AI in the field of healthcare will continue to accelerate in ways that are outside of fighting the virus.

In addition, advances in medical technology, standards of care, as well as communications technology will make it easier to detect epidemics, track close contacts, and diagnose diseases more accurately. These advances will also make developing a vaccine with better curative effects possible by predicting the possible future evolution of the virus.

Detection and prevention will become more automated. On the one hand, drones have been used to monitor whether people are following social distancing, as well as to detect which individual in a crowd has a fever and other symptoms of COVID-19. On the other hand, facial recognition technology has been developed to detect if people have been self-isolating and following COVID-19 measures enacted locally.

Forbes also noted that AI tools and platforms can help companies understand their customers better. During the COVID-19 epidemic, increased demand for online shopping and cloud services has propelled Amazon's stock price by 73 percent so far this year. By August of this year, Microsoft’s stock price rose 28 percent, Google rose 13 percent, and Facebook rose 12 percent.

The field of AI-assisted epidemiology is also committed to developing a system that can accurately predict when and where future epidemics will occur. It can be expected that AI research will achieve further breakthroughs in the next 18 months, thereby improving the ability to detect and respond to the risk of virus outbreaks.

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