The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Fight Against COVID-19



The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Fight Against COVID-19

Unmasking The Power of AI

As I sat in my study one dreary winter morning in Christchurch, watching Bolt and Whiskers curl up together in front of a cosy fire, my thoughts drifted towards the profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our lives, and how a seemingly distant technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), has been a surprising ally in our fight against this faceless enemy. AI might not be a cuddlesome pet that can chase cold winter mornings away, but it sure has chased some of the gloom that COVID-19 cast upon us.

AI as a Predictive Wizard

There is an old saying that prevention is better than cure. In a pandemic, this is more like a commandment than a mere saying. COVID-19 has reminded us of the importance of predicting an outbreak. Here is where AI stepped in as our modern-day oracle. Companies like BlueDot and Metabiota utilized AI algorithms to forecast the outbreak even before the WHO made an official statement. AI swooped down, combed the internet, collected bits and pieces of information, and put together a clear picture that alerted us of the dangers looming over our heads. The 'spidey sense' was tingling indeed!

AI Tools: The New Age Medical Sensors

After alerting us to the threat, AI did not stop there. It helped us in screening and detecting the virus. Suddenly it was not just about cogs and wheels; it took the form of thermal cameras and predictive models. These technologies have been incorporated in various devices to detect people with unusual body temperatures or track the virus' progression. Behind each device and gadget, AI diligently works, just like Bolt every time he senses a possible 'intruder' into our yard.

Developing Vaccine: AI to the Rescue

Heard of 'DeepMind'? Not a grim and mystical fictional character I assure you. It's an AI developed by Google. It decoded the protein structure of the virus, a complex puzzle that had our top scientists scratching their heads. Decoding this was vital for developing the vaccine, and AI presented this 'decoded gift' to our scientists like a loyal retriever. Now, isn't that fascinating?!

AI in Patient Care: More than What Meets the Eye

Does the name 'Sophia' ring a bell? Sophia is a social humanoid robot developed by Hanson Robotics. Her siblings have been deployed in hospitals to interact with patients and make their experience less stressful. They even help medical staff by performing routine check-ups and interacting with patients, making them feel more at ease. Now, that's a level of service even Whiskers could appreciate, and he's quite choosy!

AI in Pharmaceutical Research

The power of AI is also harnessed in the pharmaceutical world to speed up the discovery of drugs. By using machine learning and deep learning models, AI can predict potential compounds that could be effective against the virus. It's similar to how Whiskers, with her feline instincts, always knows where the fish treats are hidden.

Mental Health Aid Through AI

I can't stress enough how crucial mental health has been during these trying times. Here too, AI hasn't left us unattended. Various AI-powered chatbots like Woebot have been developed to provide mental health support to people. These chatbots provide cognitive behavioural therapy based on user inputs in a user-friendly and approachable manner, like a digital hand reaching out for you in times of distress.

AI technology: The Future Pandemic Warrior

It's clear that AI has played an indispensable role in our fight against COVID-19. It's not just a technology anymore; it's a helper, a friend, a guide, and most importantly, a warrior. Sure, it cannot replace the warm affection that Bolt fills me with or the sweet melodies that whiskers serenades me with, but it has certainly etched a place for itself in our lives. With every technology comes hurdles and we need to strive and overcome these together. AI is not perfect, but then, perfection is a myth. It's the endeavour, the journey towards improvement and advancements that matter. Similar to Bolt and Whiskers who are not perfect but their little quirks make them special...