Alight Minds

Surprisingly, AI/ML Technology could have prevented the Coronavirus from turning into a full-blown pandemic. Unsurprisingly, when the mysterious virus did knock before it arrived; we just weren’t paying attention!

While doctors diagnose contagious diseases, AI can detect an epidemic’s warning signs much earlier. Thus, programmers who may be sitting thousands of miles away can indicate which country will come into the clutches of viral disease.

BlueDot’s Role & AI/ML Technology

What AI/ML Technology Did

The first report of the impending biohazard arrived on the scene courtesy of BlueDot. This Canadian firm occupies a still-unique niche in that it specializes in infectious disease surveillance. Their efforts via AI/ML Technology allow them to predict an impending outbreak as it did in the case of coronavirus — on December 31. Additionally, the firm was able to extrapolate the spread of the disease from China to Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, and Taipei via data from airline tickets.

The role of their AI-powered system is to churn out automated results. Trained epidemiologists then analyze the data. Along with the inferences they draw, they assign a risk factor to each case. This goes into a report for BlueDot’s clients, including those in government, business, and public health in a dozen countries.   

With the data analytics at hand, health experts don’t have to spend resources on gathering information. They can get straight to responding to infectious disease risks. Many such diseases are more virulent and aggressive at spreading than before. Growing access to data and AI/ML Technology makes the generation of insights at least as fast.

How AI/ML Technology Does It

AI/ML Technology makes it possible for BlueDot to comb through information from diverse yet relevant sources, such as:

  1. Animal and plant disease networks
  2. Websites’ news reports (in 65 different languages)
  3. Government documents
  4. Global airline ticketing

The continuously learning engine works on models that allow the processing of ginormous amounts of data in real-time. Due to the use of both NLP and ML, the company has trained this engine to differentiate between an anthrax outbreak and a reunion of the eponymous heavy metal band!

This wasn’t BlueDot’s first rodeo either. They have successfully predicted that South Florida would be the location of the Zika outbreak.

The AI doesn’t comb through the social media posts for information as of yet. But imagine the implications if data from that source could also be a part of the analysis.  

Other AI/ML Technology Pioneers

The University of Southampton

The research effort they are undertaking in the current coronavirus outbreak involves using AI technology to model search engine data. The outcome is a map of the outbreak and its spreading methods. This information will be critical in preventing further spread of the virus.

AI/ML Technology & Infervision

China is also playing a large role via Infervision, an AI company with a special algorithm. Through it, it is possible to identify coronavirus on images of the lung. Thus, doctors can immediately tell it apart from other respiratory infections. An AI finishes reading a lung CT scan in 10 seconds as opposed to the 15 minutes a manual reading takes. This will make the shutting down of borders and businesses unnecessary in the future.

Google Flu Trends

AI/ML Technology was also behind Google Flu Trends. The failure of this venture can be placed at the feet of poor data quality. An AI’s prediction power can suffer greatly due to unreliable or faulty information.

AI/ML Technology & Virus Detection and Prevention

AI/ML Technology Now

There are so many applications in healthcare. But we share just a few below:

  1. With training, neural networks can predict how infectious diseases will spread in real-time. 
  2. The creation of new drugs 
  3. Identification of infectious agents, such as with the Chagas

Future of AI/ML Technology

Evidently, virus outbreak prediction is just the tip of the AI/ML Technology iceberg. Because it can assist public health officials in deciding how to distribute resources during a crisis. Or, inform them about any rise in the sales of illegal opioids.

So, the wheels of the bureaucratic engine turn slowly as ever. In the meantime, though, maybe AI-driven epidemiologists and other experts can speed up matters for the public. To know more about AI/ML Technology, feel free to contact us Alight Minds.