One could be forgiven for thinking coronavirus was the opportunity for big data, machine learning and AI to come to he rescue and give politicians and healthcare leaders the insights to fight pandemics.
This article shows the limitations as well as the potential. AI needs massive amounts of data to be effective and there are technological, organisational, structural, emotional and compliance hurdles to jump.
Even once we have jumped those challenges, not to be underestimated, leaders must decide how to use such insights.
"One is how far to push the data sharing. Once the peaks of the spreading infection have passed, societies around the world will be faced with the problem of spotting and quelling renewed outbreaks. That will require unprecedented forms of mass surveillance, as potential carriers of the virus are monitored and their personal contacts are traced to limit the spread. In the west, the debate around how to do this has barely begun."
Richard Waters FT 3rd April
We have been talking about an urgent and global problem requiring data based decisions here.
Back in the world of financial services, transport, utilities, retail and distribution, government......... many place hope in AI, BOTS and RPA.
Just goes to show that there are no shortcuts and data access and mastery is the key to leveraging AI. The post coronavirus world will place a priority on setting goals, strategies, plans and resourcing to leverage AI across the whole organisation.
Cloud hosted platforms (PaaS) are the foundation of agile and iterative development and must be able to integrate the best-of-breed AI solutions. But AI is not a solution it is a tool and like all tools must be managed effectively.
Something the hype behind AI and RPA often ignores. No shortcuts but a longhaul plan rather than bragging rights on the golf course (once we are able to play again). .
To put this in a bigger picture read more in "COVID-19: The Fifth Horseman of Digital Transformation" which describes the changes acros business, commerce and government will affect us all.
The other issue concerns the uses to which the insights from data science are being put. AI alone is not enough: its effectiveness depends on how humans respond to the insights and recommendations that are produced by today’s probabilistic systems. Ultimately, it is down to today’s political leaders to summon the wisdom and moral determination to act in the best interests of their whole populations.