Why AI and Deep Learning Will be Critical to Solving the Current and Future Pandemics.

The world is facing a crisis due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, a virus that is in the SARs family and has mutated and spread around the world at lightning speed.

Medical researchers are working around the clock to find a cure, as well as a vaccine to deal with this virus and its dire health consequences.

In the world of technology, one technology that will be desperately needed to help find a cure and a potent vaccine will be Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning.

Intel, IBM, and others with AI technology already have experience with applying AI to disparate cancer databases to try and curate data from cancer research centers around the world.
In this case, AI is targeted at a broad disease and using AI to find commonalities and using deep learning in a way to help researchers and doctors deal with this deadly disease.

In talking with medical researchers working in the field of virology, epidemics and disease transmissions, they are desperate to find a way to delve deeper into multiple data sources to not only find a cure for this current Cover-19 pandemic but to be able to identify any new viruses faster and keep them from spreading. They agree that AI and deep learning will be a critical tool in helping them with this quest.

Given our industry’s strong work in AI and its experience in using it for cancer research, I believe these companies need to perhaps create another moonshot like a project, not necessarily just focused on COVID-19, and look at applying AI and Deep learning to the work of identifying viruses as they develop in their early stages and keep them from spreading at all.

AI and deep learning has the potential of being one of the greatest technologies have created that can apply to this particular problem at a broad level, such as identifying and nipping viruses before they can spread, as well as finding cures and vaccines for ones that are already released on mankind.

Bill Gates has been warning us for years about the threat of deadly viruses and it has taken COVID-19 to get people to understand his comments and concerns. And as he has suggested, the medical world needs to work hard to identify these viruses early on and keep them from ever spreading.

I have been reading a lot of medical research papers on viruses, and most state that once a virus is identified, they need to aggressively go after its source. But to do so they need a wealth of data from past viruses and dig deeper at their roots and similarities in order to identify them and then crush them before they can spread.

At the moment, the research data is spread all over the world in databases and research material created by universities, Pharma labs, medical researchers and virologists, etc. But, in most cases, these databases are not connected to each other. Even worse is that some of these databases contain up to a couple of terabytes of material that need to be combed through and cross-referenced as part of any significant research to identify any new viruses at their roots as well as find a way to keep them from ever seeing the light of day.

If ever there was a time for tech to step up it is now. We have supercomputers and high-performance computing systems that, if aimed at these virus databases and applying AI and deep learning to the research process, the chance of identifying new viruses before they even start, could be possible.

I know that given our current situation with COVID-19, we need AI and Deep learning applied to find a cure and a vaccine in the short term. But those like Bill Gates and others who have studied viruses and their potential impa.ct, say that the current conditions such as climate change, extreme poverty, poor sanitation, etc could breed other viruses and we need to be able to ID them fast and eliminate them at their roots. If not, what we are going through now, could happen multiple times in our lifetime.

Published by

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.

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