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Flexible thinking

The tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to think differently. This has led to some stunning technological breakthroughs - you only have to think of the lightning quick development of vaccines for one - and innovative new uses of existing technology.

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The tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to think differently. This has led to some stunning technological breakthroughs - you only have to think of the lightning quick development of vaccines for one - and innovative new uses of existing technology.

 

Consider artificial intelligence. This week, we explored its use in the healthcare sector and how its flexibility makes it tailor made for combatting the coronavirus.

 

A deep learning tool was deployed to identify the difference between Covid-19 and pneumonia by using 2D and 3D modelling of CT scans. These results have helped doctors increase their knowledge about the virus, how it was transmitted and the speed and scale of the virus.

 

It has also played a critical role in relieving the pressure on overworked and overly stressed healthcare workers, whether it’s in telemedicine, assisting in triage, optimising the use of ventilators or carrying out routine tasks.

 

Talking about the cliches of artificial intelligence - Turing tests, replicants, singularities and so on - has almost become a cliche in itself. However, fears over the efficacy of decision making and AI’s approach to using our data generate genuine concerns and will need to be overcome if it is to be truly mainstreamed.

 

That said, what the current global tragedy has shown us is AI’s uses are more flexible and more widespread than perhaps we initially thought. As we argue: "The current situation won’t usher in a blanket adoption of AI-enabled technologies, but it certainly helped to accelerate the trend towards embracing them."

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