While everyone around the world knows about the COVID-19 outbreak by now, we know that it started from Wuhan, China and has spread across all parts of the world right now. However, you might not be aware that there have been a lot of developments prior to the spread of this virus that went somewhat unnoticed for a few days. According to a report, it was an AI company named BlueDot which alerted the various government hospitals and other organizations regarding an unusual activity they saw.
The company revealed that they are seeing a lot of pneumonia cases from last few days in Wuhan which might be something they should have a look at. Later, WHO declared that this is the COVID-19 virus which has spread all over Wuhan and is killing a lot of people. So we should give credit to BlueDot as well as AI for showing data regarding the outbreak before anyone could do so.
However, the problem is that this AI could not predict the virus outbreak when it was still in very early stages. Therefore, the next step for AI is to predict the outbreak before it happens. For this reason, research is already being conducted and people are being told that they should start working on an AI system that predicts an epidemic before it is going to take place from limited data.
MIT says that there are three main areas where AI needs to get better which are prediction, diagnosis, and treatment. While we know that BlueDot predicted the virus outbreak by seeing the reports of increase in pneumonia cases, it needs to get better at predicting those before the cases increase in number by a limited pattern.
Google also tried to predict an outbreak by releasing a product named Flu Tracker. However, the fact that the tool failed to predict the flu that same year meant that it was later abandoned.