Nearly a week ago senior executives representing global tech giants Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook had an audience with officials at Downing Street, London, where the agenda was to harp upon the possibility of crucial role expected to be played by Social Media on the back of AI (Artificial Intelligence), amid the ongoing Coronavirus crises.
Evidently, a high-tech gathering but which materialized physically for achieving more realistic clarity in views and action. One of the sub-topics of discussion was data modelling and tracking.
Meeting of such a class, however, have taken place in White House before, where AI occupied the centre of discussion.
The argument in favour of AI, gained momentum following the recent WHO acknowledgment where the technologies of AI and Big Data were hailed as cornerstones in China’s approach to the virus.
Researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, have already teamed up with Social Media giant Facebook to put efforts to uncover data generated by anonymous users indicating communal movement and thereby to locate higher population density regions with precise objective of estimating the spread of virus.
Besides, such widespread Social Network (Facebook), at same time, enables the channel partners to figure out the popular discussion taking place among the online community, about this issue and for such a purpose, seasoned tools (like Crowdtangle) are put into action to gather and sort the social-media posts, no matter how big their number may turn out to be.
In grander scheme of things, health officials have already utilized the Google search data to unearth the infectious diseases. As a step ahead, a premium temperature patch is recently programmed-developed by Verily, which is Life Science research branch owned by Google. This patch is to be placed on a body which captures pulse and blood circulation and dispatch the data to phone based app. Sundar Pichai, chief executive, pointed out in his blog, “This could be especially useful in elderly populations, where viral infections have higher rates of morbidity and mortality.”
Till now, redundant and large amount of data facts have surfaced and not exact insight about the misinformation that prevails heavily on Google and Facebook, is there.
Seasoned programmers at Google are hyper-active and working beyond their shifts to protect users from phishing, malware, rumours and any such other conspiracy theories that are circulated online.
As productive fallout of such measures, as of now, on checking for coronavirus or Covid-19 in Google, will trigger an SOS alert, followed by a handful of links from trusted websites to gather help from, while useful info is also sought about the subject.
In the meantime, YouTube is also not far behind and users are directed to WHO and other groups from home-page for quick assistance and videos showing irregular and baseless treatments, are removed.
Further in Britain, a start-up Exscienta, has claimed to have successfully administered a drug molecule, powered by AI, on humans as a mere trial just in January, this year. Backstage, company had to invest almost an year, in developing such algorithm for the purpose and synthesized such development with 4-5 years of traditional research for best results.
Prof. Andrew Hopkins observes that in the face of ongoing virus mess, AI could be utilized in the multiple ways, such as:
- To design and develop antibodies and vaccines for Covid-19 viruses quickly and on a large scale,
- To evaluate existing drug composition and to consider any degree of refinement to be brought therein,
- To compose such a drug that would be useful in fighting current spread of corona virus as well as any such health challenges of future,
However, he still advised audiences to be at real terms with the AI technology, as to what exactly could be achieved by implementing this technology.
Meanwhile, DeepMind, which is an AI company managed by Google, overriding its tech prowess encapsulated in AlphaFold system, has reported the futuristic trend of a handful of constituent proteins as are present in this virus. Although, such a forecast lacks proper theoretical verification, but still, such an insight is likely to enable scientific society to understand the inherent composition of virus and also about its functioning. Tech stalwarts (DeepMind and Exscienta) have appreciated those at the frontlines of this outbreak for releasing data quickly, as such data, when compiled into sleek information, is critical to any algorithm, which is considered to invent a vaccine and for subsequent treatment.
Robots As Cleaners:
Bristol university’s Prof Sabine Hauert has spoken a wide string of golden words about the crucial role, AI has to play in the present crises management. In her words, ”It can also be used to put people out of harm’s way, for example using robots to clean hospitals or tele-presence systems for remote meeting, consultations, or simply to connect with loved ones,”.