What COVID-19 will mean for Artificial Intelligence

The age of COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. While many people are either deep in the danger zones, either as someone who has contracted the virus or someone who’s helping the sick, others are stuck inside away from their friends, family, and the life they once knew. But while social distancing and quarantine orders seem temporary now, many are left wondering what the future will look like.

The most prominent change that’s come about from COVID-19 is uncertainty. The shock from this virus has shaken everything from the world’s physical health to its economy and even the mental health of individuals working long hours in hospitals and sitting at home with little in-person contact. 

While many people are just hoping that one day life will be able to return to something that resembled their lives pre-COVID-19, it seems unlikely that the world will ever be quite ‘normal’ again. 

Optimistically, many have predicted that once everything has settled, people will be more sanitary and health-conscious. Another possible positive to the virus is that the world can now better equip itself to deal with the next possible outbreak. But with the virus damaging the economy so severely, the future is looking bleak for many workers and business owners, unsure if there will be work or a business to go back to when the dust settles. 

With the war against coronavirus being fought on nearly all fronts imaginable, it’s no surprise that at least some progress is being made. Even though it may not seem like things are getting better fast enough, there’s a lot more going on in the world than people realize. In the turmoil caused by the virus and with people scrambling to figure out how to slow it, many new developments have been made.

But the accelerated innovation sparked by the virus isn’t just advancing medical technologies. It has also bettered existing technologies that can be used well into the future, even one without a pandemic.

And due to the vast changes occurring in people’s everyday lives, there may also be a cultural change, which may propagate further into how we live day to day even after the pandemic has subsided. 

One primary place, where these kinds of extensive changes seem to be happening is our use of technology. Many people are now doing all the things they used to do, remotely. This includes everything from work, school, and getting groceries and other products. 

A lot of people are also spending more time online than ever before. No longer being able to enjoy the normal fluctuations of the week like the commute to work, going to the gym, or meeting up with friends, people are growing more dependent on technology and the internet.

But not only has the virus lead to this dependency, but it has also pushed life into a much more technologically advanced society. Scrambling to retain some kinds of normalcy, the shift to remote work and the school has greatly expanded the online toolset, as people had to figure out how to make these necessary changes and figure it out fast.

And that seems to be key to figuring out these unforeseen times – efficiency and effectiveness. The world isn’t stopping for anyone, and that seems to still apply when the entire world is hit with a pandemic. But one piece of technology that has not only grown during these times but also been a huge help on multiple fronts is Artificial Intelligence.

Prior to the coronavirus, advancements in artificial intelligence was mostly restricted to various forms of data processing. Many people recognize that artificial intelligence has been slowly introduced into many consumer products like autonomous cars, personal assistances like Siri and Alexa, and even social media ads. 

But artificial intelligence isn’t just something for people to use for entertainment or to help businesses increase foot traffic. 

Before COVID-19 struck, artificially intelligence was already being used in many of the same facets as it is today. However, due to the demand created by COVID-19, artificial intelligence has quickly expanded its resume, now being used to combat the virus. AI in healthcare is now quickly being adopted by hospitals all around the world. 

Deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence, was already an impressive tool in identifying diseases from medical images, including some cancers. But despite showing progress, implementing AI into regular health care techniques wasn’t that easy. Like most things, AI-based technologies needed to undergo testing, to prevent possible harm from lack of oversight concerning their capabilities. 

But due to the sudden rise of patients, many AI-based technologies had to be implemented to keep up with the caseload. And the results have been encouraging – many hospitals are seriously considering implementing AI earlier than they would’ve otherwise. 

As mentioned before, AI is a key player in data processing, and AIML (Artificial Intelligence and Manual Learning) has proven to be especially beneficial in scientific research. So, in addition to its application in healthcare, AI is working behind the scenes as well – helping scientists provide new information, techniques, and technologies to be used by hospitals. 

When the current pandemic starts to blow over, many expect that AI will be a more integral part of both scientific research and healthcare. So even though the demand might not be as critical once the virus is no longer as threatening, AI’s rise to the challenge will cement its place in society.

Many people have already noticed this happening slowly and have taken an interest in AI. If you’re also interested in learning about how AI works and how it will probably become a part of your everyday life (if it isn’t already), there are many machine learning books, that can inform you on everything from the basics to how to do it yourself. 

So despite the fear and uncertainty that many people are feeling right now, there is hope. There is hope that one day this will all be over, and we can return to our normal lives. And there is also hope that the world we go back to will be even better than it was before.