While all of the world is worried about the spread of Coronavirus, scientists are researching if AI can prevent the outbreak of possible various future pandemics.
The possibilities of AI data analyzing.
Toronto based startup called BlueDot had identified the outbreak of COVID-19 on December 31st, just a few hours before midnight, and several after Chinese authorities have diagnosed the first cases of a new disease.
Clients of BlueDot were extremely lucky because this information allowed them to prepare for what was coming.
AI proved itself once more to be a useful tool because it gave BlueDot a head start over its competitors. Furthermore, this case has proven that AI has the potential to predict and maybe even prevent the net outbreak of some similar pathogen.
Medical diagnostic equipment
While BlueDot is using AI to predict various outbreaks, an Israel based company called Nanox has developed a mobile X-Ray scanning system that not only makes X-Ray images but also uses AI in cloud-based software to analyze these images, compare them with hundreds of thousands well-documented cases in their database.
Doctors worldwide are starting to use the Nanox system with the hope that not only its AI can prevent outbreaks, but will speed up receiving a diagnosis for other kinds of patients as well. From tuberculosis to cancer, it should be able to diagnose any lung disease in just a matter of seconds.
But here’s more. The Nanox company is working on an even more compact X-Ray machine that would take images of a person’s lungs. The company is planning on installing these machines in such places as for example airports, and other places where there is a lot of people rubbing shoulders.
Having in mind that Nanox systems have a relatively low price range, they have attracted a number of investments from private companies, as well as from various countries. It has been announced that Nanox will supply 1000 devices for medical services providers in Norway, Australia, and New Zeland.
AI and drugs
Not only AI can prevent an outbreak, but also it can help to develop drugs for various diseases including COVID-19. How one might ask. As have been noted earlier, AI can execute a search in an enormous size database relatively fast. Scientists are using AI to simulate the effect of various known drugs of the selected pathogens to see if a drug even has a chance against the intruder. It saves a lot of time that is especially valuable during outbreaks.
A company named Insilico Medicine is specialized in AI drugs research. It even used its algorithms to discover over a thousand of new theoretical chemical compounds that might be used as a cure from Coronavirus in just a few days.
Of course, at this time, scientists have to further check these molecules to make sure they are safe for humans and the environment. But in the near future, we might even see a treatment or a drug for any given disease, whether it would be a bacterial, viral or even autoimmune origin, being created by AI almost instantly. Yet, we have a long way until this kind of utopian dream will come true.
Chinese robots and drones
But despite all the promises of how AI can prevent the outbreak of future pandemics, we still have to take care of the existing one. And AI is also playing a huge role in it regarding the treatment of patients in Chinese hospitals. Chinese use AI robots to help medical staff with various roles from patient admission to drug administration and of course simple chores such as cleaning and disinfection of various rooms.
It is also worth noting that Hangzhou city ambulance drivers are assisted by AI in order to select the fastest and most effective route to reach their patients as fast as possible.
Guangzhou has even taken extreme steps by placing a few robots in a few public places in order to identify and warn citizens who are not wearing protective face masks.
It has been noticed that the Chinese government is using drones in order to inspect if people are staying at home as instructed by officials to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus
AI is the good force for today
Whether or not it will lead to global Chinese dystopia is a question for another day. For now, the fact that AI can prevent the outbreak of the next great disease by early detection of risks, quick creation of medicine, and early diagnostics is all that matters. In the future, it is possible that companies like BlueDot, Insilico Medicine and Nanox will become crucial in humanity’s defense against future plagues. So, at least for now, it seems that AI is doing more good than bad.