What role does Artificial Intelligence (AI) assume in combating an epidemic? The paper looks at how governments, health experts, researchers and social media companies across the world are leveraging AI-based technologies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. While governments across the globe are collaborating with their local authorities and healthcare providers to track, respond and prevent the spread of disease, the health experts are using advanced algorithms and analytics to enhance the efforts to prevent infection. Social media companies are using various AI-based systems to engage citizens to create awareness and educate them on the disease. Can this be seen as a shift from addressing the challenges traditionally to using more advanced systems like AI? Can AI save us from this pandemic?

The urgency to tackle the global crisis at hand has pushed many governments to take extraordinary measures that infringe on individual rights of privacy, which is put on the backburner for now. While data is extremely crucial for AI to maximise its efficiency and effectiveness, the paper raises concerns about data privacy and protection, and stresses the need to bring in new regulations and policies in this regard. It also hints at how the privacy of citizens and the regulation of AI-based technologies could emerge as a serious issue in the months’ to come.

Click here to read the working paper Leveraging AI in the Fight against COVID-19 by Juanita Justin and Gazi Hassan

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