AI offers limited help for coronavirus research


Nearly six months after the emergence of the coronavirus, only 7.1% of research on COVID-19 references AI compared to 12% of research on other topics. AI is being used to make predictive analyses of patient data, especially medical scans, and analyse social media data, predict the spread of the disease, and develop biomedical applications. Although there are many opportunities to apply AI to prevent, diagnose, and treat the virus, the required substantial investments in hardware and changes in how hospitals work suggest that AI will continue to play a limited role and the low barriers to entry mean that researchers may produce low-quality contributions. Among other AI limitations, indicators within data that humans discard instinctively may help the AI “cheat” in such a way that it appears to be more accurate than it later proves to be.
Writer: Juan Mateos-Gloria; Economist
Publication: NESTA; Economist

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