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Researchers Encouraged to Use Artificial Intelligence to Analyze Coronavirus

By Mark Prvulovic - Mar 17, 2020 at 6:56PM

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Governments are helping scientists employ AI to comb through coronavirus research.

COVID-19 researchers are expected to begin using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to data-mine new clues and insights regarding COVID-19. The Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a call to action for researchers to start using this technology to sort through the scholarly data on the topic using a newly created database.

Major healthcare organizations would like a better understanding of how COVID-19 originated and how it spreads to better develop a potential treatment. AI could help in this regard, as this technology is capable of scanning the 29,000 or so scholarly articles on the subject much faster than a human can. This could lead to the discovery of new clues and insights that otherwise would be near impossible for a person to find.

Artificial intelligence depicted as an abstract picture of a brain.

Image source: Getty Images.

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios told reporters in a conference call that using AI and machine learning could greatly aid research efforts, calling this database the "most extensive collection of machine readable coronavirus literature to date." However, the database is far from complete. Only 13,000 of the 29,000 articles have been fully uploaded onto the database at the moment. The remaining 16,000 articles have had their abstracts uploaded, but little else.

Working with the private sector

The White House said that it partnered with a number of private-sector tech giants, including Google and Microsoft, to help compile an extensive database of articles regarding COVID-19. Other organizations include the National Library of Medicine, the Allen Institute of AI, as well as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, named after the wife of Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

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