Artificial Intelligence is Weak Against the Coronavirus

Artificial Intelligence is Weak Against the Coronavirus

The world is facing its biggest health crisis in decades because of coronavirus. Even though one of the world’s most promising technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), is not playing the significant role some might have hoped for.

Renowned artificial intelligence labs are Microsoft, Facebook, OpenAI, and DeepMind. Nevertheless, as coronavirus has spread around the world, it has remained relatively quiet.

Neil Lawrence is the former director of machine learning at Amazon Cambridge. He said that it is fascinating how artificial intelligence is quiet.

That pandemic shows what bulls—t most artificial intelligence hype is, continues Lawrence. It is excellent, and it will be useful one day. Nevertheless, it is not surprising in a pandemic that we are falling back on tested and tried techniques, says Neil Lawrence.

Those techniques include old-fashioned, mathematical models and statistical methods. The mathematical model is to create epidemiological models, that predict how a disease will spread through the population. Currently, those are far more useful than fields of artificial intelligence like natural-language processing and reinforcement learning.

Nevertheless, few useful artificial intelligence projects are happening here and there, of course.

For instance, DeepMind announced in March that it had used a technique of machine-learning called “free modeling.” It was to detail the structures of six proteins associated with SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, that coronavirus caused the Covid-19 disease.

Coronavirus and Artificial Intelligence

For example, an Israeli start-up Aidoc is using artificial intelligence imaging for flagging abnormalities in the lungs. Another example is the British Viagra start-up. The co-inventor of Viagra, David Brown, uses artificial intelligence to look for Covid-19 drug treatments.   


Verena Rieser is a computer science professor at Heriot-Watt University. She pointed out that autonomous robots could be used to help disinfect hospitals. Moreover, artificial intelligence tutors could support parents with the burden of homeschooling. She also said that artificial intelligence companions could help with self-isolation, and it is mainly for the elderly.

Lawrence said that at the periphery, you could imagine it doing some with CCTV. Moreover, he added that cameras could be used to collect data on what percentage of people are wearing masks.

A United Kingdom firm SCC built a facial recognition system. The firm has adapted to spot coronavirus sufferers instead of terrorists. In England, Oxford, Exscientia screens more than 15,00 drugs. It is to see how effective they are as a treatment of coronavirus. The works are done in partnership with the United Kingdom’s national “synchrotron,” Diamond Light Source.

Nevertheless, the artificial intelligence’s role in the pandemic is likely to be more nuanced than some may have forecasted. Unfortunately, artificial intelligence is not about to get us out of the woods any time soon.

Lawrence is now a professor at the University of Cambridge of machine learning. He said that this just indicates how new artificial intelligence is. The maturity of techniques is the same as the nineties internet, said Lawrence.

Researchers of artificial intelligence rely on vast amounts of nicely labeled data. It is to train their algorithms. Nevertheless, right now, there is not enough reliable coronavirus data to do that.

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