AI can pinpoint the next pandemic

AI-powered technology identified the global COVID-19 outbreak within minutes of the outbreak. Could this tech prevent the next pandemic?

By Max Burkhalter
May 2, 2022
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A small Canadian company isolated the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic within minutes of the outbreak.

On New Year's Eve 2019, Bluedot was one of the first to sound the alarms of the onset of a possible infectious disease. The technology uses an artificial intelligence (AI) powered algorithm that examines data from around the world in search of the next outbreak. The AI algorithm loops a search every fifteen minutes, 24 hours a day, in over 65 different languages.

Within hours of a Chinese news station reporting seven hospitalizations from a mysterious flu-like illness, BlueDot warned health officials in 12 countries. 

BlueDot isn't the only AI-enhanced internet of things (IoT) technology utilizing the connectivity of smart devices globally to identify potential outbreaks. Here are the ways today's leading systems are working to isolate the next pandemic.

AI overwatch

Predictive modeling is being used by other organizations and institutions as well. The Mayo Clinic's Coronavirus Map Tracking Tool looks for hotspots that could emerge in the next 14 months.

The data from average daily and total cases, positive test rates and vaccination rates are used to predict the location and timing of outbreaks. This AI technology is leveraging the power of unprecedented data insight for future modeling.

Social media to the rescue?

A report published on ScienceDaily details how social media could be instrumental in predicting the next COVID outbreak. Research performed by data scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder uncovered startling results when harnessing the power of popular online platforms such as Meta (Facebook) and Twitter.

Using a short-term forecasting model and machine learning to interpret large datasets from user accounts, the team analyzed information from social media against information from mobile device location data.

According to the research, social media data – anonymous information aggregated from billions of accounts – provided significantly more accurate insight compared to conventional location data modeling algorithms.

With over 2 billion Meta (Facebook) users worldwide, the research concludes that social media data is a better tool for predicting viral spread when contrasted against location data from an owner's mobile device. This is due to the abundance of user data available, even in remote regions of the world where mobile cell phone data is not obtainable.

This privacy-protected data is collected and aggregated via machine learning algorithms to track the mobility of users as they travel across the globe. The technology can also identify any keywords with which infected or recovering users type to communicate their experience with the disease, making social media the new go-to source of real-time raw data regarding outbreak trends.

Between advances in AI-powered machine learning technology – and an abundance of social media platforms with which users interact daily – the next outbreak of a highly-infectious disease will likely be contained immediately.

The next challenge? Leveraging IoT technologies to stop future pandemics before they happen.

Reliable solutions

Perle stands ready to provide efficient, reliable technologies in order to adapt to the needs of constantly-innovating IoT industries. Learn more about how Perle is powering next-generation artificial intelligence solutions by contacting us today.


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