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Big Data and AI enlisted to fight virus

Merics.org

Chinese tech companies are currently deploying an assortment of technological solutions to help fight corona virus on the ground. Tech giant Baidu, for example, had previously unveiled a system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to measure body temperatures by directing an infrared sensor onto the foreheads of moving passengers, while Shanghai Lingzhi Technology had developed a cleaning robot that sprays disinfectant on self-navigated routes in hospitals nonstop for three hours.

Xinhua news on 9 February said the Central Network Office (中央网信办) was allowing the use of personal data on the grounds of “epidemic disease prevention.” Tech firms and local authorities were given access to sensitive personal information on condition everything is deleted after the epidemic prevention is completed. But remains to be seen whether big data and AI can help authorities to put preemptive measures in place – Baidu has a constantly updated map of all reported Coronavirus incidents ­– or perhaps even uncover more inefficiencies in authorities’ response to the epidemic.

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