Summary: The power of AI to solve large-scale problems perhaps met no greater test than COVID-19. Around the world, medical experts have leveraged AI to drastically reduce the time scale of finding and developing a new vaccine to treat the pandemic.
Original author and publication date: Angela Harvey – December 16, 2020
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: If the future is the state of consciousness of being open to unexplored possibilities, perhaps the past is the state of consciousness of explored possibilities.
From the article:
“One of the time-consuming pieces is really around the analysis of billions of different molecules and how those might be used to do chemical binding to the target protein that we’re looking at,” Dan Drapeau, an artificial intelligence (AI) expert and head of technology at Blue Fountain Media, told TechRepublic in August 2020.
“Humans can’t possibly do that. It could take forever.”
With the help of AI, it didn’t take forever. By November, two vaccines in the U.S. with 95% or greater efficacy were making their way through emergency approval processes. If the approval moves forward, the finding and development of a vaccine for COVID-19 will beat average vaccine development timelines by years.
“The development of vaccines can take years,” explains the Mayo Clinic website. “This is especially true when the vaccines involve new technologies that haven’t been tested for safety or adapted to allow for mass production.”
AI is the new, quickly maturing tool at our disposal allowing for such a monumental achievement. So monumental, in fact, that many believe the awakening of AI is the next great human revolution.
Like the invention of the printing press or the rise of the Renaissance, AI has the power to open the doors to an incredible proliferation of knowledge and creativity.
And this time around, we have the chance to do it right. Recently, I was joined on a (notable) all-woman panel by leaders from Intel, Microsoft, and SAP. We met to discuss how AI can be used for good. What are the pitfalls? Where could it go wrong? But ultimately, like with the COVID-19 vaccines, how could it help address some of the biggest challenges humankind has ever faced? We met to discuss the future but first we had to look at lessons from the past.