Facebook announces to use Artificial Intelligence to predict the spike of COVID-19 fourteen days before

The coronavirus pandemic hit the world at the beginning of the year 2020, and only two months short of entering 2021, the pandemic is still there and the disease is still inflicting thousands of people around the globe. Scientists and researchers from top universities and healthcare facilities have been spending their days and nights in trying to find a way to stop the spread of the disease and to find a cure for the novel virus, but not much has been achieved as yet despite all our modern technology and scientific advancement. Even a vaccine has not been successfully released by any country despite many tall claims.

Amidst all the chaos, the Silicon Valley giant Facebook has recently published a paper in which the company has announced to use Artificial Intelligence to predict the spread of COVID-19 beforehand. This would help the hospitals and healthcare facilities of that area where a spike is predicted to prepare themselves, and It will also give a chance to the people residing in those areas to take proper measures to limit the spread of the virus.

Facebook is going to use the Artificial Intelligence technique to develop a system that will be workable in counties across entire America. This system will look into the inherent qualities and features of the diseases, as well as the social conditions and limitations of the counties that may play a role in the spread of the virus. This way, this system will be able to predict the disease 14-days before it spikes in a county.

The algorithm of this system will be factored with the traits of the disease and the public and anonymized data collected from the county, its time-based case data, etc. This will help the company to predict and influence measures like social distancing, limited mobility, etc. Facebook has also designed a ‘neural autoregressive model,’ which is capable of separating regional elements from disease-related content in those data sets. So, if one county gets affected by the COVID-19, this model will look into all the data about the cases, the severity of the diseases, and the number of infected people, and based on all the data from one county, it can predict the spike of disease in nearby counties too. This way, those other counties will get a go-ahead and a chance to prepare themselves and their hospitals, etc. with the right elements to limit the spread of the disease. The researchers think that this complex AI model will help many people in the long haul.

Facebook will publish all its predictions every week on the platform of the Humanitarian Data Exchange. And the company is also teaming up with the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona to include Europe in this new venture too. All the forecasts from America will also be included in European Commission reports helping the researchers and experts there also to understand this disease and to find a way to limit its spread globally.

So, far, these predictions will be county-based. It is not known if Facebook will be able to achieve much success on the state level or not. Besides, the adoption of the system and real-time accuracy in relation to the entire world are several factors that make the whole proposal a little dubious. Let us see how Facebook achieves what it is looking for through this AI system?

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