Original article can be found here (source): Artificial Intelligence on Medium
The now we know, is now is dead.
On 23rd January 2020, the central government of China imposed a lock-down in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province to quarantine the outbreak of Coronavirus disease. That day the world as we know it was changed forever.
From the time unknown, humans have lived together, eaten together and worked together to shape a society that is co-dependent on each other to accomplish great things. From harnessing the power of fire, making the first wheel and then in recent times going through the industrial revolution of steam engine, mass production, automated production and Internet of Things, unbeknownst we have entered into the 5th industrial revolution and the world itself has shaped the future for it. Nobody was prepared to enter into such situation of Pandemic of Coronavirus and we are yet to grasp the full consequences of it. The economic impact of such events cannot be evaluated at the start of it but the cultural event is intimidating. Coronavirus in 2013 was deemed deadly but not infectious enough to pose a global threat. The pandemic today could have been avoided if we had prepared ourselves for it. But we are still living in the past, and the now we know, is now dead.
In the bright future, we live in a society we have fully embraced the power of AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning) and CV (Computer Vision) to help us reshape our life. Monitoring and control of events that are beyond the human capability are executed with the help of sensory devices. With the help of CV and AI, we don’t need to manually monitor who is sneezing, coughing, touching their face and not wearing the protective gear for work. We can predict if a person has sneezed four times a day how many coworkers has it put on mortal risk and what are the chances of him having a disease if his neighbor’s best friend went to Disneyland and came into close proximity of someone who was infected earlier. AI can identify, track and forecast outbreaks in a locality weeks ahead by analyzing news reports, social media platforms, and documents. Predictive capabilities are used to propose existing drugs that might be useful. With the help of Machine Learning, it’s no longer difficult to identity a person with facial recognition even wearing a face-mask and to predict whether the person is prone to be diabetic or cardiovascular patient 10 years down the lane by taking his retinal scan. All this done without any interaction of human beings. This is the future where we accomplish great things without the expense of human life.
The need of the hour is that all businesses and organizations come forward to shape the future and adapt the cultural change. Once we stop shaking hands, we are not going back. Researchers predict that diseases like Corona virus will come year-on-year without dying completely. Even today, with the help of Computer Vision we can have eyes on thousands of people visiting a shopping center, knowing how many Nikes shoes are going to be sold that day and what ambiance of light settings do we require to sell a thousand Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Drones are already used to reach remote places to deliver medical supplies in quarantined places, and to track non-compliance to quarantine mandates and scattering information. Robots are used to clean, sterilize and deliver food and medicine to reduce the amount of human-to-human contact. Google’s DeepMind division used its latest AI algorithms and its computing power to understand the proteins that might make up the viruses and published the findings to help others develop treatments.
According to a report, The United States has 15.28 CCTV cameras every 100 individuals, followed by China with 14.36 and the United Kingdom with 7.5. An citizen in UK is by average seen in at least 300 camera footage. By an estimate, there will be roughly 20–50 cameras attached to a person by 2050. By utilizing these feeds, AI can help us predict future events.
Thousands of micro-decisions made in milliseconds are no longer in hands of humans and to achieve such synergy we have to embrace the future. We have been too afraid to handover the control to more effective beings — the machines. And unless we do it ourselves with our terms, we’ll enter an era either too unprepared or the control taken from us.
Some of the must-have things that at least all businesses should immediately shift over to as follow:
1. Reduce Human Contact
Taking into consideration the recent precautions for Coronavirus, human contact has to be minimized to reduce human life risk, increase time efficiency and to avoid such outbreaks of diseases. This can be easily done by replacing legacy processes with automated systems. Such as to make or cancel a reservation we no longer need to even talk to human and process our bookings via Chatbots. Information can all be disseminated via drones and mobile apps. Tracking of mail and packages received can be automated with less or minimal contact with another person. M-2-M comes to rescue in replenishing the stockpile and delivering items. Biometric devices can easily be replaced by cameras that can scan and tag your employees. Trainings and simulations can be conduction in an AR, VR or Mixed Reality environment to increase availability for all.
2. Identification of non-compliance or infected individuals
There’s no need to take temperature manually of each individual when a sensor can do it for you. Customer Vision has enabled us to individuals and their actions with high accuracy. We can detect the temperature, temperament, emotions and actions of individuals with up to 90% of correct identification. Someone is not wearing a mask in office, sneezing too many times, not using the hand sanitizer, fell due to fatigue, showing signs of sickness or being in place that he’s not supposed to be can all be detected easily and relevant personal can be alerted before it can cause further damage.
3. Predict Diseases and Outbreaks
AI can help predict disease outbreaks weeks ahead. Intelligent handling of data can connect dots to predict the spread of diseases in an area or a population. Similarly, the reverse can help to track and identify the cause and origin of diseases. In an smaller environment such as an organization, this can be applied to see the potential people who are in danger of contracting the disease by coming in contact to a person or hazard.
The world is not going back to how it was. Coronavirus Pandemic is not an event, it’s a transition. Transition of human culture to something that we have so far avoided to embrace. The implications of this transition has resulted in panic and fear, that could have been avoided long ago if we were prepared for it. It has changed our culture forever and we are too late still living in the past. To live in the now, we must reach out to the future. Where this has been a devastating event, it has also opened avenues that have been avoided for too long. In the words of Stephen Hawking: “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t give up.”