5 Ways Technology Helps The Fight Against Diseases

March 26, 2020

Develop drugs

Google’s DeepMind division used its latest AI algorithms and its computing power to understand the proteins that might make up the virus, and published the findings to help others develop treatments.  BenevolentAI uses AI systems to build drugs that can fight the world’s toughest diseases and is now helping support the efforts to treat coronavirus, the first time the company focused its product on infectious diseases. Within weeks of the outbreak, it used its predictive capabilities to propose existing drugs that might be useful.  

 Advanced fabrics offer protection

Companies such as Israeli startup Sonovia hope to arm healthcare systems and others with face masks made from their anti-pathogen, anti-bacterial fabric that relies on metal-oxide nanoparticles.

AI to identify non-compliance or infected individuals

While certainly a controversial use of technology and AI, China’s sophisticated surveillance system used facial recognition technology and temperature detection software from SenseTime to identify people who might have a fever and be more likely to have the virus. Similar technology powers “smart helmets” used by officials in Sichuan province to identify people with fevers. The Chinese government has also developed a monitoring system called Health Code that uses big data to identify and assesses the risk of each individual based on their travel history, how much time they have spent in virus hotspots, and potential exposure to people carrying the virus. Citizens are assigned a color code (red, yellow, or green), which they can access via the popular apps WeChat or Alipay to indicate if they should be quarantined or allowed in public.

Chatbots to share information

Tencent operates WeChat, and people can access free online health consultation services through it. Chatbots have also been essential communication tools for service providers in the travel and tourism industry to keep travelers updated on the latest travel procedures and disruptions.

Supercomputers working on a coronavirus vaccine

The cloud computing resources and supercomputers of several major tech companies such as Tencent, DiDi, and Huawei are being used by researchers to fast-track the development of a cure or vaccine for the virus. The speed these systems can run calculations and model solutions is much faster than standard computer processing.

In a global pandemic such as COVID-19, technology, artificial intelligence, and data science have become critical to helping societies effectively deal with the outbreak.

Marr, B. (2020, March 13). Coronavirus: How Artificial Intelligence, Data Science And Technology Is Used To Fight The Pandemic.

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