In What Ways AI Is Helping Us Combat COVID-19?

The Use Of AI Technologies To Fight The COVID-19 Pandemic

Once surrounded by several apprehensions, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is proving to be one of the greatest aid against the pandemic. Across the world, AI technologies are helping residents and businesses to adjust to a new way of functioning. Experts suggest that these changes will accelerate the use and confidence in AI – in the future.

From maintaining safe social distancing to redefining the economic landscape, AI is stepping up its existence in different sectors and industries. Especially, AI is assisting in places where human knowledge reaches certain limitations. Some of these areas include disease surveillance, tracking hotspots, accelerating diagnosis, detecting infections, and so on.

A rising ocean of data is a challenge for industries such as healthcare. It needs to be gathered, stored, analyzed, and interpreted correctly. Privacy is another major concern for such highly sensitive assets. AI manages all of these tasks effectively.

Advancements such as machine learning, natural language processing, facial recognition, data analytics, and deep learning are the driving forces. In different matters, each one works with AI to provide end results. 

To understand it better, read the following initiatives where AI is working as a game-changer.

Recruiting With Safety

Upplands-Bro municipality in Sweden is using AI robots to recruit new candidates. Before using the robot, it was facing recruitment challenges due to the coronavirus spread. The municipality is the first in the world to use the Tengai recruitment robot. Tengai is an HR tech startup based in Stockholm. 

Tengai robots have the potential to execute automatic interviews that are data-driven. As there is no human influence in the process, it claims to accomplish hirings without any bias. It also claims to demonstrate the capacity of completing an interview seven times more than a human recruiter.

From 11 May 2020 onwards Upplands-Bro will start using the latest version of Tengai robot verified by psychometric experts. The robots are developed to deliver candidate evaluations to support hiring decisions and enhance overall efficiency.

The robot will be an effective tool to meet the challenge of securing access to competent staff. This is as per Havva Ilhan, deputy head of human resources at Upplands Bro municipality. Elin Öberg Mårtenzon, CEO at Tengai says that the robot is completely automated. It will help the HR department achieve its high expectations of efficiency and objectivity.

Any organization can lease these robots to conduct interviews at their chosen location. 

Maintaining Social Distancing

Integration Of Existing Infrastructure With AI Software

Retail shops and workplaces in different parts of the world are turning to AI to avoid the spreading of the coronavirus. They are integrating their existing security camera infrastructure with AI software to track compliance with health guidelines. The two primary rules include social distancing and mask-wearing. 

AI Hub International in Singapore has developed such an AI software application called ‘SafeDistancer.’ This app enables businesses to monitor social distancing easily by transforming a smartphone into a social distance monitoring tool. 

The app can be used by supermarkets and offices to ensure crowds maintain the required distance from each other. 

This AI software system runs advanced machine learning algorithms to detect individuals in an image. In the next step, the results are processed with data analytics in the phone to alert when people get near to each other. 

It also takes care of the privacy of the customers/employees whose images are captured. The processing is carried on the device without any data transmitted over any network. Yet, privacy is further strengthened as information and images are not stored on any device. And, facial recognition of any sort is not carried out.

The SafeDistancer app is currently being used in Singapore by different businesses. Similar apps are in use in South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and other places.

AI Hub International’s software is proving to be effective when using it with a mobile phone. In addition, it offers the ability to integrate with the existing surveillance infrastructure of any business. 

Tracking Disease & Its Risk

Tracking COVID-19’s Spread Through AI Powered Apps

As we explained, machine learning is the driving force of AI that identifies patterns in the pool of data – also called Big Data. These patterns then help in gaining useful insights and making proper predictions. 

When it comes to the COVID-19 spread, AI is working as the frontline assistant from the beginning. For instance, BlueDot, a Canada-based AI company was the first in the world to detect the emerging risk of the virus in Wuhan. It sent an alert to the entire world after the first case on 31 December 2019. This alert was the first scientific paper published on COVID-19. It made accurate predictions of the global spread using its established models. 

BlueDot’s AI program was designed to predict infectious diseases, locate and track their spread. Its technology works by combining AI with the knowledge of epidemiologists. These experts know how and where to look for evidence of emerging diseases. 

Currently, the company is able to analyze 100,000 reports in various languages on a daily basis. These reports are then sent as regular alerts to healthcare facilities, government offices, businesses, and public health clients.

The alert is a short summary of anomalous disease outbreaks that BlueDot’s AI program has discovered. This also includes risks that may arise. 

Other such AI applications have gone one step further to monitor the spread of humans infected. They also detect humans carrying similar symptoms. One of the best examples is the app developed by Apple and Google

Speeding Up Diagnosis

Royal Bolton Hospital, operated by the National Health Service (NHS), UK is using AI to manage the spread. The newly arrived AI-based technology is proving to be a blessing for the healthcare facility. 

The use of the technology is a brainchild of Rizwan Malik, a lead radiologist and AI enthusiast at the Royal Bolton Hospital. He noticed that patients had to wait for six hours or more for a specialist to look at their x-rays. This is when he thought that if the doctor could get an initial reading from an AI tool, it could significantly reduce wait time. 

In September 2019, Malik designed a conservative clinical trial that helped display the technology’s potential. He discovered a game-changing chest x-ray system called qXR from, a Mumbai-based company. After he proposed to test the system, several hospitals and NHS committees and forums reviewed it for four months. It received approval. 

However, before the trial could initiate, coronavirus hit the UK. Early research suggested that radiology images of severe COVID-19 cases showed clear lung abnormalities linked with viral pneumonia.

Chest x-rays proved to be the quickest and most affordable ways for doctors to triage patients. This was after observing shortages and delays in PCR testing. redesigned qXR to detect COVID-19 induced pneumonia symptoms. The hospital approved Malik’s proposal immediately to perform initial readings. Now, many healthcare facilities are using such AI technologies for the first time.

The AI-based diagnosis tool is coming as a boon when the patient load is increasing with pressure on staff.

We have always feared the worst AI could do to us. But in these crises, it is proving to be the greatest friend indeed. AI is also helping the healthcare industry in developing vaccines and drugs that could help us combat the virus. Wait to know more about AI’s positive side in the next blog!