Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for 50 years and has progressed significantly in the past few decades. But the technology has only recently advanced enough to make it truly useful.
AI is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software and its ability to simulate human intelligence. Devices operated by AI can perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence. It is also a broad term that describes anything from chatbots and self-driving cars to image recognition software and medical diagnosis. It encompasses many different technologies.
They can be categorized into three main groups:
- Narrow AI: focused on one specific task and cannot learn others
- General AI: can learn new skills and take on multiple tasks
- Superintelligence: can surpass human intelligence, but it is still being developed
AI Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
AI played a massive role in helping humanity during this pandemic. For example, AI helped scientists create vaccines for COVID-19 by providing them with human microbiome data. The AI-based COVID-19 vaccine provided immunity against various ailments, including influenza, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, and shingles.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a human can’t conduct such research without the help of AI. Besides vaccines, AI has also contributed to coronavirus research, from drugs that would help treat the disease to getting a deeper understanding of the virus.
It was even used to predict mutations that may occur and how this would affect their transmission.
There are numerous other ways AI assisted the pandemic, such as seamless contact tracing, surveillance technology that detected people with fever, and making transactions contactless to avoid virus transmission.
AI Easing COVID-19-Related Problems in Various Industries
As AI evolves and grows in complexity, it is now an integral part of everyday life. From providing essential services to automating complex tasks and operations, Al has significantly impacted a wide range of industries. It has been especially helpful during the time of the pandemic. AI has made it possible to predict which jobs are under-utilized by humans, making it more efficient.
The healthcare and medical field are one of the industries struck hard by the pandemic. Many doctors, nurses, and medical professionals lost their lives in the line of service, and hospitals were flooded with sick patients. Fortunately, AI has helped in countless ways.
Through technology, telehealth services and remote health monitoring were possible. This helped reduce the risk of transmission, ease the number of patients in hospitals, and make consultations more convenient. Fitness trackers and other “quantified self” technologies were also helpful in remote diagnostics.
Young and old learners were significantly affected by the pandemic as this halted face-to-face education. During its peak, schools and universities were compelled to conduct online learning. With AI’s help, students could continue their learning from the comfort of their homes.
Chat and video messaging apps, student engagement platforms, and other programs were developed to maximize remote learning. More online content and courses were also available to encourage students to study.
Since COVID-19 is highly transmissible, many companies were forced to adopt a work-from-home setting. AI has been helpful in different work situations by being the bridge between people, such as video or teleconferencing apps.
Virtual reality also kept businesses going. For instance, it has been used in providing virtual tours for the real estate industry. VR has also facilitated training and drills.
AI has offered some assistance to food services, as well. Take-outs and deliveries are now more prevalent to reduce exposure and the risk of infection. Technology has played a part in making online transactions available and fast.
More online services have paved the way for retail to survive the pandemic and continue operating. Many grocery stores decided to go online to meet the customers’ demands without compromising their safety. One of the ways AI stepped up in this department is through automated fulfillment, speeding up the ecommerce processes.
Virtual reality also offers the retail industry many benefits. For example, customers can do furniture shopping and visit virtual showrooms while staying at home. Some beauty companies also use AI technology to let customers try on makeup virtually. The same goes for fashion; catwalks and collections have gone digital, making them accessible to customers online.
With the growing demand for respirators, face masks, testing swabs, and the like, manufacturing industries, together with the support of AI, have been meeting ends. 3D printing has significantly helped source materials, especially in the medical field. Industrial automation and robotics have also contributed to providing services amid the pandemic.
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business, but store closures and physical distancing have hindered customer service. According to EBCallCenter.com, AI has reinvented the call center industry in many ways.
Some benefits include having an automated conversational AI, recognizing the customer’s tone and mood, and improving solutions. Visit selectvoicecom.com.au to find out more about AI and human customer support.
The pandemic may have affected how money makes the world go round, but AI has done its part in continuing that. Tears ago, people got around by exchanging money for goods and services. But with technology, contactless payments are now available. This makes it safer for people to transact while keeping themselves distant from contaminated things and surfaces.
Branchless banking has also offered customers some services in unbanked rural areas outside traditional banks. This technology allowed banks and unbanked crowds to be connected when transacting.
With almost every industry adopting the new online norm, the entertainment sector also hopped in. AI has given this line of business opportunities to let the show go on through virtual reality and events. Many concerts, gaming leagues, and music festivals are being held online. E-sports has improved through AI and garnered much attention, as well.
Due to the increase in the remote work setting, security had to be boosted. Automation from AI helps securely hire people from all over the globe (globalexpansion.com/countrypedia). AI has offered ways to achieve a more secure personal surveillance technology, and cybersecurity has improved to safeguard remote workers.
AI: A Helping Hand Amid the Pandemic
The battle with COVID-19 and the aftermath continues today. Many businesses have closed; some went bankrupt, while others were able to hold on and survive. But with the help of AI, it has been lighter to some extent. It opened doors of opportunities for businesses to stay afloat while others had their chance to expand and go global.
With how fast AI and technology are advancing, it is hard to say how much further it can go in the next few years.