Presently in China, medical doctors make use of artificial intelligence devices that were offered by Huawei Technologies Co. to discover any signs of COVID-19 in CT scans. While in Israel, Tyto Care Ltd. Provides in-home medical examinations using AI to give clinical-grade data to distant doctors for diagnosis.
Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc. Designed an algorithm that can analyze the biological formation of the COVID-19 and also made it obtainable to scientists working on a vaccine.
AI is also used for biometric identification systems being deployed by the government to monitor the virus and intensify lockdown efforts, including temperature screening systems implemented in the nooks and crannies of Beijing and CCTV cameras causing facial recognition software in Moscow.
An adjunct professor at City University of Hong Kong and AI adviser at the Hong Kong Computer Science Society, Andy Chun, made a statement that “AI is being used to fight the virus on all fronts, from screening and diagnosis to containment and drug development.”
The pandemic is causing a significant advancement for the tech sector. The fast introduction of AI devices to overcome the virus is being achieved for the benefit of the people, however, it brings up essential questions surrounding discrimination, accuracy, bias, safety, and privacy.
Technological activities such as Fever detection, facial recognition, and other means of remote biometric identification technology can gather sensitive data, which can put people into danger if not properly managed.
Before the rising of the Coronavirus, facial recognition has become an objection for privacy and civil liberties advocates, that have stimulated governments to ban software or issue an authorization till protection measures are in place.
Citizens with darker skin tones and women especially are vulnerable to being misidentified. A current global software study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology discovered that incorrect positives are usually as much as 100 times more possible for Asian and black faces compared with images of white skin tone.
Different efforts to adjust AI are in their early stage. While authorities including Singapore and the U.S. have discharged guidelines for its use, the European Union is doing everything possible to be the first to propose secure rules.
Softwares like facial recognition usually can’t be utilized for distantly identifying people under establishing EU privacy rules with some exceptions, and the bloc wants to understand where precisely people’s limit lies.
U.S. and European law enforcement officials warn against bans of devices they say can secure the societies. Governments should plan meticulous policies; instead, they argue.
The utilization of biometric technologies to fight the Coronavirus is part of the broader surveillance rules of governments monitoring their citizens’ compliance with limitations on movement.
Authorities in China acquired data from phone carriers and called on private companies to develop AI solutions to monitor all citizens’ travel patterns. In Europe, telecommunications operators are providing governments with aggregated and anodized mobile phone location data to track lockdown efforts, and some countries are working effectively with voluntary apps to track people who infected people have had contact with.
Europe has rigid privacy rules about what companies and organizations can do with people’s data. Still, under special conditions, governments can pass emergency bills to use citizen data without their permission.
Thus far, openly announced tracking plans in Europe have been appropriate with the bloc’s strict privacy rules, based on the European data protection authorities. Still, the regulators say they plan to accurately monitor, to ensure no party goes beyond his boundaries.
Corporations are also moving to biometric identification for security against the virus. ASML Holding NV, a Dutch maker of semiconductor manufacturing machines, has implemented an infrared thermal camera at its headquarters in Veldhoven, at the entrance to a sanitized clean room where it arranges big equipment for chip makers.
Poland’s Pragmasoft rapidly increased its distant fever-detection solution, Feverguard, considering the crisis and already has pre-orders from companies and offices in Poland, with interest from prospective customers in the U.S. and Serbia.
It doesn’t store names and temperatures to ascertain the company is ideal with privacy rules. Pragmasoft made a statement that it uses low-resolution thermal sensors, hiding any identifying physical structures.
The chief executive officer of Israeli private equity firm OurCrowd, which invested in Tyto, based in Netanya, Israel, Jon Medved said that, for AI developers, the coronavirus pandemic signifies a chance to prove their tech can be a move for good.
“AI enables you to face a new reality, begin to understand, and fight back,” Medved says. “We will look back at this time and say that the pandemic was the maturity of AI and not as a threat to humanity, but as a real help in terms of overcoming global dangers”, says Ilya Khrennikov.
This current pandemic is assisting in implementing AI technologies and startups. But the faster deployment of contentious biometric identification devices is a green light on the need for regulation.