This AI Knew About the Coronavirus First
Today, China’s coronavirus outbreak is dominating the news cycle.
Back at the end of December, nobody was talking about it yet.
It wasn’t until Jan. 7 that the CDC began to separately track the spread of the illness, now called COVID-19. The World Health Organization didn’t make its first official statement until two days later, on Jan. 9.
But more than a week before the first recognition of COVID-19 by health officials, customers of a small venture-backed Canadian technology company had received word of an outbreak spreading in Wuhan province…
Thanks in large part to artificial intelligence.
The company, BlueDot, has built an AI-driven analytics platform to track and anticipate infectious disease risks.
In these pages, we’ve talked plenty about the risks AI poses to warehouse jobs in the not-so-distant future…
But it’s not all some dystopian vision of the future.
“BlueDot uses an AI-driven algorithm that scours foreign-language news reports, animal and plant disease networks and official proclamations to give its clients advance warning to avoid danger zones like Wuhan,” says a recent story in Wired.
One of the biggest challenges in combatting a potential public health crisis like COVID-19 is the questionable data being released by the authorities in China.
But AI can help to punch through the veil by consuming data that any single person (or even huge teams of people) can’t and connecting the dots.
It’s not just limited to infectious disease outbreaks, either.
Similar artificial intelligence technology is being put to work by intelligence agencies to find and stop terror networks before they can cause damage, for instance.
The truly exciting part about these kinds of AI advances is that they’re all about doing things that we couldn’t do before as a civilization.
Many of the hardest artificial intelligence challenges are about cracking tasks that are trivial for humans: driving cars or stacking boxes, for instance.
But when it comes to processing data, AI stands far above what people are capable of.
That’s creating some huge opportunities for the small companies behind these advances. While most of the mainstream headlines focus on companies working on human replacements, firms like BlueDot are creating something totally new — and potentially saving lives in the process.
For Technology Profits Daily,
Chief Technology Expert, Technology Profits Daily