The COVID-19 outbreak is one of the biggest threats humankind has faced in a long time. The fact that it’s new and we don’t have enough data to get to the grass-root level and track the outbreak, makes it very dangerous and scary. Another reason that makes it deadly is the vagueness of its origin to date. During these challenging times, if there’s anything that has helped contain this pandemic, it is technology. Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Analytics are helping the countries and their medics fight against this pandemic in every possible way. Even if we stop the infection from spreading, experts say it’s not something we can get rid of so soon. In this blog, let’s discuss in detail the participation of emerging technology in the fight against COVID-19 as well as the future concerns for the technology post-coronavirus.
The governments around the world have released applications in public that allow live tracking of coronavirus positive cases in the country. Along with this, these apps also help in tackling fake news by providing information from genuine sources like WHO and government portals. A recent initiative by the Government of India, Aarogya Setu, a COVID-tracker app, is taking data from the citizens of India as well as six drones drawing inputs through geo-fencing.
A website called Covidvisualizer.com developed by Navid Mamoon & Gabriel Rasskin from Carnegie Mellon University takes Data Visualization to the next level. The tracker consumes data from various countries and shows the real-time statistics of the pandemic in a very user-friendly way.
Whether it’s a simple AI bot that helps to eradicate fake news or machines performing big mechanical tasks, robots are switching places with humans wherever necessary to stop the spread of the virus.
Tally, a no-maintenance, autonomous robot, developed by Simbe Robotics is now scanning shelves at grocery stores like Schnucks Markets and Giant Eagle stores. It has 40 sensors and is capable of identifying prices, availability, discounts, and other special offers on products. The data collected by Tally is also helping people know what’s available at the stores from their homes.
Along with robots, drones are also playing an active role in delivering goods, medical kits, disinfecting public places, checking the temperature of the public, as well as in making public announcements in many countries, including India.
Before the pandemic swallowed the entire world, we were still fighting for strong Data Privacy Laws that prohibit the misuse and disclosure of personal information. Today, both government and big players of the tech industry are collecting and analyzing user data in great volumes. From tracking every second of their movements, their health records, and such private information, an individual’s life is being summed up in 0s and 1s.
Google recently tapped into public health with its COVID-19 Community Mobile Report. The report uses data from people who have saved location history with Google. Governments of more than 131 countries can now look into this data and track individuals who are strictly following self-isolation orders, or if track the travel history of individuals who are not adhering to social distancing. Given the time, this information is necessary, but with such sensitive & private data, comes great responsibilities and greater power.
The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. Once it is over, there’s a huge room for innovation that can measure our preparedness against such unfortunate and unforeseen events. There are many positive assumptions around the post-coronavirus world. However, there’s still a big argument that we need to win when this pandemic wave comes to a rest.