Tracking COVID

Tracking COVID

Jul 2020 | No Comment

AI enabled technology to ensure social distancing

Amazon has launched an artificial intelligence-based tracking system to enforce social distancing at its offices and warehouses to help reduce any risk of contracting the new coronavirus among its workers. One of the early solution developed at Amazon applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to the camera footage in the buildings to help site leaders identify high traffic areas and implement additional measures to improve social distancing.

As the company continued to learn and innovate to support the health and safety of associates, it also saw an opportunity to evolve tech even further and promote social distancing behavior in real-time. Given social distancing isn’t always natural, the company set out to use augmented reality to create a magic-mirrorlike tool that helps associates see their physical distancing from others. Working backwards from a concept of immediate visual feedback, and inspired by existing examples like radar speed check signs, ‘Distance Assistant’ provides employees with live feedback on social distancing via a 50 inch monitor, a camera, and a local computing device.

India becomes member of global alliance on AI

India has joined leading nations of the world including USA, UK, EU, Australia among others as a founding member of a league of nations, which has launched a Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI or Gee-Pay).

The first of its kind initiative is aimed to guide responsible development and use of AI, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth. The multi-stakeholder initiative will work towards evolving better understanding of the challenges and opportunities around AI using the experience and diversity of participating countries. It will also support cutting-edge research and applied activities on AI-related priorities.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and Singapore are among the other nations, which have joined the partnership.

Developing ethical framework for use of personal location data

The corona virus is spreading around the world at lightning speed. This crisis is not only about DNA and RNA. Where people are and how they move hugely influences the spread of the virus. Therefore, information about location and travel is seen as an important tool in the fight against COVID-19.

However, the great potential of (personal) location data also begs a number of questions: What does it mean for our privacy and democratic values? Now and in the long term? Is the price not too high? It is crucial to collectively ensure that data and apps are deployed in a responsible manner. Geonovum has decided to make a valuable contribution to this. It has developed an ethical framework for the use of personal location data.

Inspiration is drawn from existing ethical codes and supplemented with input from meetings.

UK gives up on centralized coronavirus contacts-tracing app

As per BBC report, the UK has given up building a centralized coronavirus contacts-tracing app and will instead switch to decentralized app architecture.

The UK’s NHS COVID-19 app, has not progressed past field tests, after facing a plethora of technical barriers and privacy challenges-as a direct consequence of the government’s decision to opt for a proprietary system which uploads proximity data to a central server, rather than processing exposure notifications locally on device.

Singapore plans wearable virus-tracing device for all

Singapore plans to give a wearable device that will identify people who had interacted with carriers of coronavirus to each of its 5.7 million residents, in what could become one of the most comprehensive contact-tracing efforts globally.

Testing of the small devices, which can be worn on the end of a lanyard or carried in a handbag, follows limited take-up of an earlier smartphone-based system and has further fuelled privacy concerns about contact tracing technology.

The government did not specify whether carrying the device would be mandatory.

The government’s earlier TraceTogether app encountered problems, especially on Apple (AAPL.O) devices where its operating system suspends Bluetooth scanning when the app runs in the background. The pivot to wearables is a signal that Singapore has no immediate plans to adopt contact-tracing technology from Apple and Google (GOOGL.O) rolled out last month, which has several restrictions designed to protect users’ privacy.

NASA, partner space agencies amass global view of COVID-19 impacts

In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) have joined forces to use the collective scientific power of their Earth-observing satellite data to document planet-wide changes in the environment and human society.

In an unprecedented collaboration, the three space agencies have created the joint COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard, which integrates multiple satellite data records with analytical tools to allow user-friendly tracking of changes in air and water quality, climate change, economic activity, and agriculture. This tri-agency data resource gives the public and policymakers a unique tool to probe the short-term and long-term impacts of pandemic- related restrictions implemented around the world.

In April, the three agencies formed a task force to take on the challenge. The group identified the most relevant satellite data streams and adapted existing computing infrastructure to share data from across the agencies and produce relevant indicators. The dashboard presents users with seamless access to data indicating changes in air and water quality, economic and agricultural activity on a global scale and in select areas of interest.

Air quality changes around the world were among the first noticeable impacts of pandemic-related stay-at-home orders and reductions in industrial activity that emerged from satellite observations. One air pollutant, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is primarily the result of burning fossil fuels for transportation and electricity generation, shows up clearly in satellite data. NO2 has a lifetime of a few hours and is a precursor of ground-level ozone, which makes it a useful indicator of short-term air quality changes. Changes in another critical component of our atmosphere, carbon dioxide (CO2), are highlighted in the dashboard to probe how global and local reactions to the pandemic have changed concentrations of this climate-warming greenhouse gas.

The dashboard will also present tri-agency satellite data looking for signs of changes in agricultural production around the world, such as harvesting and planting due to disruptions in the food supply chain or the availability of labor.


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