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Source: Saarbrücker Zeitung as of 16-03-2020

Can artificial intelligence also provide pre-warning systems against the spread of pandemics in the future? Researchers in Kaiserslautern are convinced of this. (dpa) Artificial intelligence (AI) can help detect the outbreak of epidemics earlier and fight them more effectively, according to one expert. This is especially true in connection with the relevant data, Paul Lukowicz of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern now told the German Press Agency. For early detection, it is important how many people report getting sick and when, said the scientific director and head of the DFKI’s Embedded Intelligence research area. “If you were to network the admission reports of all the clinics in the country, and an algorithm would constantly check these reports for conspicuous accumulations, you would probably have noticed the epidemic of the new coronavirus long before it spread.” Of course, ethical issues must be clarified beforehand such as access to and use of patient data. Artificial intelligence could also help with knowledge of the possible spread of a disease, Lukowicz said. AI can be used to for example, prepare the data of international flight movements and thus help to predict how quickly something can spread.”
In the treatment of diseases, artificial intelligence can primarily support diagnostics. For example, an algorithm trained on it could determine faster than a radiologist on a shot of the lungs whether a person has the disease Covid-19 caused by the virus or the flu, said the expert at DFKI. “The system can detect subtle features that escape the human observer.” Basically, artificial intelligence can easily detect a pattern faster from large amounts of data, Lukowicz said. “If we have enough patterns, it’s an incredibly useful tool.” The problem is often not algorithms, but an insufficient amount of data, the scientific director said. The DFKI was founded in 1988 and also has locations in Saarbrücken and Bremen as well as a project office in Berlin. According to its own information, the Centre is the leading business research institution in Germany in the field of innovative software technologies based on artificial intelligence methods. Currently, about 640 scientists and employees, as well as 440 student staff from more than 65 nations, work on more than 250 research projects.
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