Can artificial Intelligence be used to tackle the spread of pandemics such as COVID-19?

March 19, 2020 Leave a comment

Artificial Intelligence when hooked-up with Internet of Things (IoT) is a great tool to tackle the spread of Pandemics like COVID-19. Essentially AI is no good without data. The AI algorithm has to be trained with quality data. This is where IoT comes into spotlight. It could be used to collect vital data of every citizen across the nation every second and feed it to AI to track the spread of the disease.

Here is how it works. Say the federal govt supply IoT wearables to all of its 350 million citizens. As soon as these devices are worn by the population, the IoT devices start sending vital health info i.e. body temp, pulse rate, blood pressure and so on. This data is sent every second to the internet from all who are wearing it. This data also sends their location information to the internet. If they travel, their movement can be tracked and whom they meet can be identified. If someone is not wearing it, it can be identified too, as they have been mailed this device to their personal addresses. If no data is coming in, it means they are either refusing to wear it or just too old to figure out and may need assistance. Now as the data comes from 350 million people every second, it is too big to decipher it. This is where we need AI to analyze this bigdata and alert the authorities when someone develops symptoms like fever. Entire population can be monitored with this kind of vital data.

Lets go a step ahead. There are companies who are claiming that they are able to build home-kits to test COVID-19. If these devices become available in the market and are built as IoT devices by connecting them to internet, the monitoring of COVID-19 would be much more efficient.

IoT devices play a vital role in handling global pandemics. More data from public in real time is crucial to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

Categories: Economics

Creating jobs in America

August 13, 2011 1 comment

How to create jobs in America?

Companies can’t create jobs if the market is weak, and the market will remain weak as long as consumer confidence is low. However, consumer confidence only increases when the economic outlook improves. Is this not a classic “chicken and egg” situation?

Here is a way out of this loop:

Despite low economic outlook and low consumer confidence, we can still make people buy more goods by simply bringing down the cost of products and services. The market is not completely dead, it never will be.

How do we reduce the cost of products and services and make them more affordable? The practical approach is to make energy cheaper, which in turn makes raw materials cheaper since energy is used in mining, processing, and transportation. The cost of manufacturing will also decrease with cheaper energy.

Now, the million-dollar question is: how do we produce cheap energy?

Lets us ask ourselves a question. What makes energy so costly in the first place? We all know that solar energy is free, wind energy is free, even the coal and oil resources are freely accessible earthly resources. What makes energy so expensive is the “skilled manual labor” involved in its generation, be it mining, drilling, refining or transmission. If we can automate these manual operations, energy will become highly affordable. It will not only be cheap but easily scalable, and the cost reduction will be felt all over the world. 

Although partial automation has shown up in oil and coal industries, full automation look very distant, as the processes are very complex and it takes time for automation to catch-up both in technology and investment. This is where Solar Energy comes in. It is relatively easy to automate and the resource is abundant.

Just by going solar will not solve energy problem, it has to undergo automaton. World can’t afford another dependency on “skilled manual labor” in any future energy industry. Manual processes not only make the product expensive but the production rate will be very slow and always remain far behind the demand, keeping the cost high.

Should we depend solely on existing well established companies? Not necessarily. Even the startups can invest in this mega industry. Most companies fail at startup, especially during slow global economy. However, they will succeed if they can find a product that has lot of demand and hard to outsource. Their best bet is energy. This is the only product in the world for which there is always a global demand. Market will absorb any amount of energy that we produce. Startup “Energy” companies and existing energy companies can create substantial number of jobs. They can create jobs that are needed for automation eg. research and development, assembly of machines, maintenance of machines and so on. This will undoubtedly elevate the skill level required of the average worker, and this will accelerate growth of the education system as well. 

Are we ready for automation in such a mega scale? The answer is yes and no. We have a mix of skilled and unskilled workers. This means we need retraining of unskilled workers to increase their skill level. This retraining effort takes time. Even the automation technology needs time to develop to meet the demands. Energy companies need not have to wait for these two resources to mature, they can start off with currently available skilled/unskilled workers and work their way up towards full automation.  This will not only answer the current job crisis, but will answer the future energy demand as well.

We will be much better prepared to face that mega energy crisis that is not far away when the global economy bounces back

-R.S. Amblee
Author of:
The Art of looking into the Future
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Categories: Economics