Predicting the Coronavirus Outbreak: How AI Connects the Dots to Warn About Disease Threats
BlueDot, a Canadian artificial intelligence firm, was in the news for warning about the new coronavirus before WHO and the CDC. The company was able to alert the public to the outbreak by utilizing different sources of information beyond official statistics about the number of cases reported across the entire world. BlueDot’s AI algorithm combines news stories in dozens of languages, reports from tracking networks and airline ticketing data to create an algorithm that is better at simulating disease spread than the ones that solely use public health data.
BlueDot’s ability to predict the outbreak was achieved through using its algorithm, which the company also uses to predict and track infectious diseases for customers in the government and private sectors. Epidemiology tracks where and when individuals contract a disease in order to specify the source of the outbreak and which populations are at risk, however, BlueDot’s AI system is able to model how diseases spread in populations, which helps it predict where they will occur and how far and fast they will spread. BlueDot is now using the tech to try and predict where the disease will go next and how many it will infect.