Artificial Intelligence has become the most important technology in helping countries fight the novel Coronavirus.

COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest modern challenges for humanity. To tackle and defeat the virus, governments and organizations around the world are struggling to provide relevant information to people. Technology is being used to perform large scale operations to fight the virus.

One tool which emerged as a significant player in the fight is ‘chatbots’. Artificial intelligence is used for conversational uses to disseminate information about the pandemic. As searches related to the coronavirus have spiked since January, informational bots for search results are now becoming a new tool.

AI and search results

AI start-ups such as are working with Google to bring informational bots to search results. Governments around the world are also partnering with such start-ups to bring in updated information for bots. The Indian government and U.S. municipalities that are some of the worst-hit are using bots to provide their citizens with information.

The Indian government has tied up with Amplify to create an information bot that shows up on Google India search results. When people search for the COVID-19 and related search results on both Google search engine and Google maps. Bots will also point to locations of 16,000 food and shelter via conversational machine learning.

Chat bots

Many technologies are helping in the fight against the COVID-19, chatbots are seeing a surge amid the pandemic. With nationwide lockdown norms in place, traditional call centres and other customer service applications are closing and bots are increasingly replacing them

People are used to speaking with customer representatives for the information they need. However, the pandemic has shifted people’s attention towards AI; they are now shifting towards the digital age. Familiarity with technology can help the commercial world in the long run.

Working with public vs private organisations

Working with governments and public organizations is seen as more challenging compared to commercial players. The lack of strong digital infrastructure to support the companies has been the biggest challenge. But the pandemic has forced the Indian government to swiftly transform its digital services and capabilities.

While working with government companies, they are taking a rudimentary approach by explaining how the technology works and how to integrate it with their digital infrastructure. 

Technology has proved its role in combating pandemics where information is key. Countries with safe and wider internet access have better access to information about the disease. These countries also have better infrastructure, governance, and human development to fight the pandemic.

According to a UN report, of the 193 member states, 167 nations provided information about the COVID-19 on national portals, mobile messages, mobile apps, and social media platforms. Reliable information helps the citizen to make decisions about their daily routines and activities.

The United Kingdom government has launched a chatbot service on the popular messenger app WhatsApp. Through the bot, people received answers to their questions related to the pandemic directly on their mobiles

Digital data and AI have the potential to help diagnose and monitor the virus. In South Korea, an AI firm launched free COVID-19 analysis software, which people can use for early-stage diagnosis and assessment of symptoms. With the help of such software, people can detect, segment, and produce 3-D images of lung damage caused by the COVID-19, through CT imaging.

Vicinity monitoring

Contact tracing helps in tracking the patients’ recent contacts in order to place them under quarantine as they are potential virus carriers. GPS, cellphone masts, and big data powered by AI help track patients to contain the spread of the virus. Many countries like India, Singapore, and South Korea used tracing rigidly to contain the virus.

Predictive modelling and risk assessment

The integration of AI in modern health care has fastened due to the ongoing pandemic. AI-based predictive modeling is helping medical professionals to study more about the disease. AI helps to provide accurate forecasts about the disease, about the spread of the virus, medication, and treatment.

Risk assessment tools through AI help companies to provide clarity on the virus’ spread. This tool helps in differentiating the common flu, cold, and coronavirus symptoms among patients and guides the user accordingly.

In China, Baidu built AI-based solutions to help the government effectively screen large populations and detect changes in their body such as temperature. This tool can help screen more than 200 people at a time without any disruptions.