It is interesting to see how AI is helping during the covid-19 pandemic. Artificial intelligence (AI) sees systems doing things like humans using technology. In an ideal world we should encourage humans to embrace technology like this to get better, much faster results. In the times that we are told are so unprecedented it is great to see this coming into practice. Time is of the essence when lives are so at risk.
Humans can only do so much. AI has a greater capacity to understand vast datasets including those in scientific literature. It is exciting to see how AI works as a biomedical tool. It can analyse viral genome sequences and make a good stab at predicting how a virus may respond to different medicines. Modelling can be used to predict things which might mean that it can be seen that changes need to be made to new treatments.
Ventilators and other vital equipment
One of the things the general public became aware of at the start of this crisis was that the NHS may become overwhelmed. It was this threat that necessitated the lock down measures. It also saw the very quick provision of the new Nightingale facilities. It is heartening to see how researchers at Cambridge University are using AI to analyse information on patients from Public Health England. They are then able to predict what types of patient are likely to need ventilators and other equipment if they have a particularly bad response to the virus. They look at numbers of patients admitted to hospital, how many of them end up in intensive care units, how many need respiratory support and whether and how fast they get better. AI means predictive algorithms can help hospitals with forward-planning so resources are used effectively. It might even mean that you can predict which patients should be monitored more closely as they are at risk of a swift decline.
We know that the real answers to the current crisis are effective testing followed by the development of an effective vaccine. It is possible AI could be used more in testing moving forwards.
It is quite fascinating to find out just what robots and machine vision can do. Industrial Vision Systems (IVS) quality control vision systems are used in all areas of medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing. By inspecting, sorting and rejecting parts at the point of manufacture their vision systems improve quality and increase line efficiency.
It is clear that humans embracing AI is already giving hope in the current pandemic. It is a partnership where we need quality and high-performing AI tools combined with humans with their insights and experience. It may be that a vaccine comes and gives us all hope for the future through such a partnership of machine and human. That would work by modelling the precise physical structure of the virus. This would enable experts to design a vaccine that mimics the virus itself leading to the triggering of protective immune responses.
The future of healthcare
We have seen the world change radically during lock down. So many GPs and healthcare professionals are now delivering services remotely making the most of digital technologies. Some important processes can be automated such as collating patient information. There is a Doctorlink symptom assessment platform which is used for NHS video consultations.eThe UK government are using a WhatsApp AI-powered ‘conversational AI’ chatbot to provide coronavirus information to the public.