Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an effective tool for public health has multiplied since the world attempted to control, understand, and combat the pandemic says Benjamin Gordon Palm Beach. From the initial indications of the virus back in December 2019 and the early estimations of its spread and effect to the execution of AI in vaccine development, AI has had an essential role.
Crucial insights by Benjamin Gordon Palm Beach
As highlighted in the AAAS report, the pandemic gave rise to an unprecedented scope to prove that artificial intelligence can get harnessed to benefit humanity. Hence, most AI developers leveraged this. Also, the proliferation of AI applications at the time of the pandemic took place so fast that the oversight got challenging. Also, the AAAS got prepared because there is immense value in realizing how people depended on AI during the pandemic. Hence, several lessons were learned in the application impact from the societal and public health perspective.
The report also shared many ways AI has been helpful in supporting pandemic response, for instance, the re-purposing of the old drugs, resorting to algorithms to bring down the number of chemical compounds you should consider. It has done this for a drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis, which became an essential drug for combating the disease.
The concerns regarding AI in resource allocation, medical triage, and surveillance
Owing to the scope for abuse and harm, the report concentrates especially on AI as a medium for resource allocation. And medical triage and surveillance applications, like contact tracing. The concerns regarding AI use in resource allocation centers and triage usually revolves around the AI-based algorithm’s ethical usage, making decisions of essential human significance, and the scope for bias or unequal treatment using the software.
Benjamin Gordon Palm Beach highlights that an investigation of similar problems carried on the healthcare system and mentioned in the AAAS report didn’t find any biased evidence. However, it suggested a bigger sample to study and mentioned the requirement for training algorithms use. In the medical triage on the populations, highlighting the ones for which they might be use.
And while the topic of medical triage has specific implications for people. The concept of contact tracing is a tool that got create to prevent and manage disease transmission. In the United States, contact tracing via smartphones usually relies on Bluetooth technology. To measure the danger of exposure and proximity between people. Additionally, the report explores the probable technical restrictions of contact tracing. Along with the risks to confidentiality and privacy. There are similar risks in the current context of the green passports introduce in certain places.
The final thoughts
In the future, the AI initiative of AAAS will come up with reports. That will share input from the focus groups conducted in some underserved communities. This report will comprise their thoughts on AI uses during COVID-19 and public health responses. Primarily associated with resource allocation, surveillance, and triage. It will also throw light on technology access problems, the collation of personal health information. The scope for disparate applications, and finally, the implications for their communities.