The Canadian company BlueDot, specialized in artificial intelligence, discovered the first signs of a coronavirus infection in China days before the WHO warned the world. Today, the start-up is working on predicting the movement of infected people.
Artificial intelligence is increasingly useful in the field of health. Today, algorithms are beginning to be able to detect brain tumors in real time, identify psychotic disorders in patients’ language and even help us to better fight the coronavirus epidemic that is currently frightening the world. According to Wired.com, using online data and automated learning systems, a Canadian company called BlueDot discovered the first signs of a coronavirus infection in Wuhan as early as December 31, long before the WHO warned the world about the problem. It was then predicted that the infectious agent would pass from the cradle of infection to Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo in the next few days.
Founded in 2014, the company aims to control and anticipate the spread of the most dangerous infectious diseases in the world. Infectious diseases are a growing global threat in our interconnected world. Over the past 20 years, infectious diseases have emerged more frequently and severely than ever before in the context of a new reality with global travel, urbanization and climate change. If diseases spread quickly, knowledge can spread even faster.
“We cannot always rely on governments to provide real-time information,” said Wired Kamran Khan, a former doctor and founder of BlueDot, referring to the silence of the Chinese authorities during the SARS wave in 2003. “We’re collecting clues about possible outbreaks, little whispers in forums or blogs that tell us there’s something unusual going on”.
Predicting the movement of infected patients
Therefore, the algorithm takes into account data from online forums, Google symptom searches, news items, official statements and health newsletters. It also sifts through information about the population’s movements through the sale of airline tickets or airport lines.
Once detected and analyzed by the software, the signals are deciphered by epidemiologists who then pass on the most important information to BlueDot customers. BlueDot is currently working with the ATPCO data platform to predict where coronavirus infected people may go.