AI heading to the frontline in battle against Covid-19

BENGALURU: Artificial intelligence (AI) can help doctors, researchers and governments fight the Covid-19 pandemic, technology giants said while discussing solutions for the highly contagious disease during a webinar organised by Bennett University.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is the most important disruption of our time. It has prompted nations, individuals, and organisations to adopt digital in a big to survive, scale, and succeed. It is helping navigate the pandemic,” said Sandip Patel, managing director of India at IBM.

The theme of the global webinar, organised by the Department of Computer Science Engineering of BU on Monday, was ‘AI Solutions for Covid’.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) tied up with IBM earlier in the month to use its AI-based tool Watson Assistant to respond to specific Covid-19 queries of frontline workers and data entry operators.

Patel said that IBM’s technology solutions can be used for strengthening IT operations, streamline IT recovery, and immunize organisations from disruption, empower workflows and productivity. Manish Gupta, director of Google Research India, said the company was harnessing the predictive information it has in helping migrant workers. It could be in identifying food camps and night shelters on Google maps, extending it in Search, and enabling voice assistants so that people can make voice queries.

Google also has enabled it on KaiOS, the operating system that runs on feature phones of Reliance Jio, not just smartphones.

In India, where cardiovascular diseases are higher, Gupta said Google was looking at AI and technology-based interventions through proper monitoring and to delay the onset by as much as 10-15 years or even prevent it.

“We are working on applying AI to gather all the health signals in a privacy preserving manner and building these risk models and allowing a health companion to find timely intervention, lifestyle and clinical interventions,” he said.

Vishal Dhupar, MD, NVIDIA, South Asia said that technology solutions are helping doctors treat patients and robots deliver drugs.

“At NVIDIA, we are working to push the boundaries of technology to do more in the time to come - whether it's supercharging the analysis of genomes, better at discovering infections, or creating safer working environments for front-line forces,” he said. “Use Supercomputer/AI to fight the next pandemic”.