Innovative technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having an increasingly significant role in the way that critical events are monitored and managed. The fight against the recent coronavirus pandemic has been led by academics and experts across multiple fields, each applying their specialisms to reduce the impact and preserve human life. But for them to succeed, they need the right tools. One of those is AI.

COVID-19 is a worldwide challenge, with few areas of the world left untouched. Consequently, it is being tackled by specialists everywhere – joining forces, and combining resources and data. For them to succeed, they must work quickly and collaboratively. Without the tools to facilitate cross-border collaboration, they won’t be able to react quickly enough.

AI is no longer a fantasy, or an experiment. It has relevant and critical real-world applications that are making huge differences to C19 survival rates, and beyond.

AI in research

There have been over 2,000 C19-specific papers published since December 2019. Each contains valuable insights on what the virus is, on its behaviours, and possible treatments. This is a testament to the speed at which the global scientific community is reacting. However, trawling through those insights with efficiency and precision is proving to be a challenge for even the most capable human researchers.

This is where AI proves key. Not only can it learn quickly and deliver swift and accurate insights with minimal human input, it makes it possible to fight the virus on all fronts. China is already capitalising on AI, and major drug companies are quickly following suit.

But AI is proving to be more than just a highly effective research tool. It is also being developed for use in detecting and monitoring the virus, planning and personalising care, supporting health services and even in drug development. This is making AI one of the most powerful fields within innovation and technology, as well as a highly-prized skillset in a number of rapidly growing fields.

Virus tracking

Based on the data from reports from global health, public health and livestock bodies, an AI surveillance system from a tech start up identified the C19 outbreak before anyone else – including the World Health Organisation. It is still being used to monitor the real-time spread of the infection globally.

Patient care

In a system pioneered by the University of Cambridge, AI has be used to assess the risk of patients in different places developing more severe symptoms. This means specialist equipment such as intensive care beds and ventilators can be sourced and allocated to where they are needed quickly.

Supporting other health services

Routine health-problems still happen, and still need to be addressed while minimising the risk of transmission. AI-driven apps have been developed to automate processes such as taking patient information, assessing symptoms, and powering remote consultations. This has been successfully demonstrated by the UK’s Doctorlink platform, which has provided a vast array of remote NHS services during lockdown.

Drug development

Drug development is traditionally very slow, for very good reasons. However, AI can be ethically used as a powerful biomedical tool which can analyse and combine viral genome sequences with computer modelling to predict potential responses of the virus to different drugs. This speeds up the process without excessive use of living test subjects.

AI in the real world

Even long after the Covid19 pandemic, the systems and tools used to tackle it will still be relevant. AI will be at the forefront of medical science, and many other specialisms, as it is constantly adapted and refined for a wide range of uses. During the pandemic, it has facilitated many successes. These learnings will provide foundations for even greater accomplishments in the future.

This makes it a relevant and future-proofed area of study, providing a breadth of opportunities in various different fields for those keen to learn. An online MSc in Artificial Intelligence with the University of Bath is the perfect fit for graduates and programmers who can see the bigger possibilities of AI, and wish to use it make a positive impact on the world.

Our online MSc in Artificial Intelligence is designed to give professionals from computer science – and a host of other disciplines – the opportunity to specialise in AI and meet the increasing demand for experts in this exciting, challenging and growing field. To find out more, complete the form below and speak to a member of our team.

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