Artificial Intelligence in the Arab World Against COVID-19
By: Yasmina Hage/Arab America Contributing Writer
We are now in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. It is a fast socio-economic transformation driven by technological progress that is overturning entire sectors and systems of governance.
In this time of health crisis, artificial intelligence (AI) shows us that it can have a very positive impact on our society. In fact, scientific institutions and governments have already utilized AI to generate possible solutions to COVID-19. Artificial intelligence has played a crucial role since the first day of the fight against this pandemic. In the Arab world, numerous discoveries have emerged to fight against COVID with the help of AI. Let’s take a look at them.
Arab Health 2020
According to Euronews, the coronavirus has shown the weakness of health agencies. Therefore, this is what Arab Health 2020 aims to tackle. Artificial intelligence will be necessary to remedy this weakness. In fact, it will be used to link the data of health actors in order to react quickly in case of crisis. In this way, artificial intelligence will provide the opportunity to report unusual symptoms before health services can even highlight them. Artificial intelligence will, therefore, make it possible to anticipate an epidemic 1 or 2 months before it gets worse.
The UAE has developed fast coronavirus laser testing technology. Emirates Press Agency says that QuantLase Imaging Lab, the medical research arm of Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company, announced that it had developed new equipment. The equipment will allow much faster mass screening, with test results available in seconds and allowing larger-scale testing!
Scientists from all over the world are competing during this crisis. This laser test will allow the UAE to have an advantageous position in this competition. This faster testing method will enable the testing of patients suspected of being infected and potentially identify carriers before they become transmissible. It will allow for large-scale screening, which is one of the best solutions for dealing with this virus.
“In fact, our laser-based Diffractive Phase Interferometry (DPI) technique, based on optical phase modulation, is capable of giving an infection signature in a matter of seconds. Moreover, it is user-friendly, non-invasive, and low cost. The device is suitable for use in hospitals and public places such as cinemas and shopping malls, but with a ‘little hands-on training,’ it can be used for in-house testing and monitoring. We believe it will be a game-changer in the fight against the spread of coronavirus,” says QuantLase Imaging Lab. Dr. Kumar says that they hope to bring the product to market in a few months.
In the United Arab Emirates, the government has begun to use artificial intelligence to limit residents’ movement. This is done mainly by controlling the permits required by residents leaving their homes in Dubai. According to Kawa, “Law enforcement agencies use a program called ‘Oyoon’ which uses a network of cameras with facial, voice and license plate recognition to apply the necessary containment measures. The information is transmitted to a database and then cross-checked to determine, for example, whether a resident is employed in a vital area or whether he or she has a certificate that would legitimize a presence outdoors.”
In many cities, governments and police forces are using AI-based video analytics software and computer vision to ensure that people comply with the rules of lockdown and social distance. In addition, to limit the spread of the virus, governments can get help from AI-based systems. This can be done by monitoring the location of people in self-isolation or quarantine and following the routes of newly identified patients.
In the UAE, drones are equipped with heat-detection cameras that help identify people who may be infected with the virus. In addition, some drones are used to sterilize cities.
The King Abdullah Medical Complex introduced a robot into the hospital to help staff treat patients infected with COVID-19. According to Kawa, “The robot’s high-definition cameras accurately examine and diagnose patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus infection. In addition to medical consultations, the walking and talking machine also read vital signs, takes X-ray pictures, keeps track of each patient’s treatment, and is accessible from anywhere via a smartphone. Another task that has been entrusted to the artificial intelligence tool is sterilization. Before the machine leaves an infected patient’s room, it performs a thorough sterilization procedure to prepare for the moment when a human doctor must enter the room for further tests and assistance.”
Students, teachers, and hospital doctors have designed a working prototype respirator. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the students have created an oxygen therapy machine. Later, the government wants this model to be manufactured locally. Additionally, other Tunisian researchers developed a simplified respirator design with 3D printable components and easy-to-buy items. As a result, this model will allow even countries that don’t have enough medical equipment to manufacture it themselves. This will enable them to have more means in order to better cope with this terrible pandemic.
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