If someone had told us a year ago that in 2020 we would be hit by a pandemic capable of bringing the world economy to its knees and causing thousands of deaths, we would certainly have considered them crazy.

But here we are … forced into isolation in a situation that in our eyes closely resembles the apocalyptic scenarios predicted by the ancient Maya.

Although it seems to us that the historical moment we are experiencing is completely new and exceptional, epidemiologists remind us that events like this do not represent an isolated episode in human history in any way.

Viruses and bacteria have always lived with us, but if we learned quickly to defend ourselves from the largest and most fearsome predators, it took us much longer to get to know the existence of these microscopic organisms and to understand how to protect ourselves from their insidious attacks.

So what is the difference between what is happening to us today and the situation in which our ancestors found themselves when they had to – for example – face the Black Death at the end of the fourteenth century, or the Spanish Flu in the early decades of the twentieth century?

Certainly today, compared to the past, we have many more tools to react to a health emergency like the one we are currently experiencing.

Scientists around the world are working tirelessly, through a multidisciplinary approach, to create effective therapies against the symptoms of Covid-19 and, above all, to develop a vaccine. In fact, more than 100 projects are currently underway and some of them are already at an advanced stage of experimentation.

Scientists around the world are working tirelessly, through a multidisciplinary approach, to create effective therapies against the symptoms of Covid-19 and, above all, to develop a vaccine. In fact, more than 100 projects are currently underway and some of them are already at an advanced stage of experimentation.

While waiting for the time it takes for the production of a vaccine and its availability on a large scale to pass, we will in fact be forced to live with this virus, trying to reconcile the need for an economic recovery with the protection of public health. This presents many challenges on its own

With its ability to rapidly and effectively analyze and predict complex systems and trends, AI can, in fact, represent a strategic card to be played in the restart phase of economic and social activities

Precisely in order to create useful tools for combating Covid-19 through AI, a consortium was recently created in the USA, called C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute (C3.ai DTI).

The consortium, made up of academic and non-academic institutions, including the universities of Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago and the C3.ai and Microsoft groups, aims to fund research totaling nearly $6 billion to counter the pandemic using artificial intelligence.

Similarly, in Europe the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence (AI * IA) has promoted the creation of a task force able to assist and support public institutions in the fight against Covid-19. The initiative was positively received and the largest artificial intelligence network in the world, CLAIRE, offered its support to member states to assist them in managing this moment of crisis.

The team of experts created by CLAIRE is led by Emanuela Girardi, member of the AI expert group of the MiSE and AIxIA, and Gianluca Bontempi, Full Professor of Machine Learning at ULB, Université Libre de Bruxelles, and is supported by the CLAIRE offices based in Aja, Brussels, Prague, Oslo, Rome, Saarbrücken and Zurich.

We just have to wait to see what the results of these joint efforts by the scientific community will be, hoping that they will help us to soon return to our longed-for “normality”.

Author: Claudia Paniconi | DMBI Marketing Manager Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

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