Appropriate use of AI can ensure governments that they leverage the best method to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
FREMONT, CA: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a key weapon of governments in tracking and tracing contacts during pandemics. Deploying AI sometimes meant balancing the need to conquer the virus with the complex need to protect individual privacy. Given that, the government built long-term policies and public health practices to ensure future protections can be deployed and maintained with AI. Here is how AI is making a breakthrough in contact tracing in the recent wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
AI’ s surveillance superpowers are being used to help break the chains of virus transmissions across the world. Various countries maintain COVID-19 quarantines through large scale monitoring of citizens with surveillance cameras and facial recognition. Some countries are even using AI-powered drones and robots to detect population movement and instances of social gatherings. AI can also help government authorities to identify individuals with symptoms of illness or even people who are not wearing masks.
The oil of much of this AI techniques is personal data. In several countries, a blend of data from credit card payments, mobile location, facial scanners, temperature monitors, and electronic healthcare records has been a vital part of a broader strategy to trace contacts, test aggressively and implement targeted lockdowns. AI is used to analyze and arrive with insights from all the above data, and it is ultimately helping countries in flattening their COVID-19 curve to a large extend.
Despite the advantages that AI offers, the government should also be aware of the data privacy issues that come with using AI, and authorities must tailor a serious approach to tackle all possible challenges. For this, it is important for governments to put in place appropriate AI governance architectures that allow the creation of long-term solutions to conquer the pandemic and other potential privacy crises. For this time, limits can be set, where the use of personal data should be limited to the duration of the crisis. Also, the use of personal data must be restricted to specific use cases like quarantine enforcement or contact tracing. Governments should also communicate to the citizens on what types of personal data being used and the purpose of using it.
Now is a time that calls for extraordinary measures. But the government must learn how to manage privacy and trust to help fight the current crisis.