Neil Sahota, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) expert, called for creation of a new ecosystem to encourage partnerships that could provide a solution to the coronavirus and possibly future pandemic diseases.
Sahota, author of the book Own the A.I Revolution(McGraw-Hill) and an IBM Master Inventorwho led the IBM Watson Group, called on fellow researchers, clinicians, doctors, and scientists to “collaborate, treat, and hopefully, cure this disease.” He said some big tech companies are “already providing chat and video conferencing tools to support their work, but there is an opportunity for deeper collaboration, perhaps through an ecosystem dedicated to coronavirus and potential future pandemic diseases.”
The United Nations AI for Good advisor noted that important new perspectives to the effects of the devastating 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill were developed through teamwork by environmental scientists, technologists, mechanical engineers and other experts.
“Why not find similar opportunities to create multi-disciplinary teams to combat the coronavirus?” Sahota asks. “Right now, we face two challenges. First, intense time pressure leads to a silo-mentality and we don’t recognize there might be more efficient solutions. Second, we may hope for a ‘magic bullet’ solution with technology like artificial intelligence. But, AI needs lots of data and training, and teamwork is essential.
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“That’s why a new ecosystem might be effective. Consider the United Nations ITU AI for Good initiative that united government agencies, industry, academia and others creates new solutions for Sustainable Development Goals using AI. The combination of different perspectives, domain knowledge and approaches create a unique synergy that accelerates usable solutions. It could be a very powerful approach for us in fighting the corona virus and future, potential pandemic diseases.”
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