Artificial Intelligence Predicts Dire Spread Of Deadly Coronavirus, Bad News For Tech Production
An Artificial Intelligence-powered (AI) simulation produced by a tech executive says the fatal Coronavirus could infect up to 2.5 billion people with 45 days and kill as many as 52.9 million.
Although these predictions are dear, fortunately conditions of the virus and success of detection and isolation are changing, which creates factors the AI doesn’t consider in its predictions.
Although these environmental factors means we’re safer than the AI simulation predicts, the fear of the Coronavirus has still gone global – and rightly so.
According to the latest data on the virus, there has been 635 fatalities with an additional 30,827 cases being confirmed across the globe – with the trend increasing with time.
While these figures are dwarfed compared to the AI simulation, the fear of infection and safety measures taking place are still grappling the world – especially that of technology manufacturing.
Yesterday, Apple Inc. reported it was closing all China locations in affected areas, creating an anticipated shortage of iPhones and other company products.
Foxconn, the world’s largest technology and device manufacturer that also produces Apple iPhones, also quarantined workers and closed locations in impacted areas.
Additionally, today Nintendo announced a delay in production of Nintendo Switch, games and accessories shipments to China and Japan.
CEO’s of Australian tech companies also told ChannelNews last week that the Coronavirus may lead to companies increasing their prices because of production halts.
‘If they’re not working, there’s nothing to ship,’ said Stephanie Ogden, Managing Director at Belkin.
Similarly, CEO of Indi Imports, Paul Riachi, says tech company prices is set to drastically increase.
‘Prices are going to go up through the roof, everyone is putting their prices up… It’s very hard to predict, but it’s going to get worse because of the Coronavirus,’ Riachi said.
‘A lot of guys are going to put their prices up nearly 30 – 40 per cent… Rises of a maximum 10 per cent increase will hit the market.’
Co-founder of fintech startup HedgeChatter, James Ross, is behind the AI simulation calculating the Coronavirus’ spread.
‘I started with day over day growth (using public data released by China)… [I then] took that data and dumped it into an AI neural net using a RNN [recurrent neural network] model and ran the simulation ten million times. That output dictated the forecast for the following day. Once the following day’s output was published, I grabbed that data, added it to the training data, and re-ran ten million times,’ Ross told Forbes.
The results, according to Ross, have been successful so far after the AI simulation successfully predicted the following day’s publicly released data within 3 per cent.
The results, however, were shocking – and in 30 days, according to the model, two million could possibly die.
But Ross admits this could be a gross miscalculation because the model isn’t programmed to understand all the factors of the response to the Coronavirus.
One important factor that has changed is the mortality rate.
‘If a high proportion of infected persons are asymptomatic, or develop only mild symptoms, these patients may not be reported and the actual number of persons infected in China may be much higher than reported… This may also mean that the mortality rate (currently estimated at 2% of infected persons) may be much lower,’ Professor Eyal Leshem at Sheba Medical Center in Israel told the publication.
Another factor is the global response to the virus and the alarm it has caused, making people more cautious of their health and hygiene. Alongside individual efforts to put a stop to the spread of the virus is also government’s across the world putting a halt to internation travel from impacted areas.
‘Effective containment of this outbreak in China and prevention of spread to other countries is expected to result in a much lower number infected and deaths than estimated,’ Leshem said.
Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, a senior scholar at John Hopkins Center for Health Security, also agrees, saying the death rate is falling because of testing and hospital treatments done on larger groups of populations will see the breadth of illness not result in a severe pandemic.
Brian Labus, an assistant professor at UNLV school of public health also says the public is fed a warped image of the virus because at initial stages of the outbreak doctors usually treat the sickest, meaning those most likely to die.
Because of the treatment, isolation of impacted patients and global efforts from governments and health organisations to halt the spreading of what the World Health Organisation has already labelled a public health emergency – it is likely the data from James Ross’ AI simulator is unlikely to become a reality.
Ross admits to this flaw but still urges governments to be proactive in fighting the virus, rather than reactive.
It’s also worth noting that the common flu killed 80,000 people in the US last year, which greatly overshadows the Coronavirus’ 565 deaths so far.
The international efforts against the fatal virus is a response to the fast spreading of it and the fact that there is no vaccine against it – unlike other equally as dangerous virus’.