DECATUR, Georgia – While the new field of artificial intelligence (AI) has apparently been limited to high-income states, there has been more research and development on AI that has potential health benefits for people. low and middle income countries. Artificial intelligence innovations that help prevent epidemics and reduce infant mortality rates are becoming a reality. Providing low- and middle-income states with these new innovations will improve global health and fight poverty.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is the computer subset which focuses on âthe simulation of intelligent behavior in computersâ. The two general categories of AI are general artificial intelligence and narrow artificial intelligence. General artificial intelligence refers to the ability of a machine to mimic the human mind and to perform any intellectual endeavor that “a human can do.” Narrow artificial intelligence deals with the ability of a machine to perform a specific task incredibly well. All applications of AI in medicine and global health fall under the category of narrow artificial intelligence.
Applications of AI in health in developing countries
Expert systems are technologies created with the greatest ability to meet specific challenges. These systems have the capacity to help predict cholera outbreaks in South Africa. The advancement of “fuzzy logic”, a group of mathematical principles “for the representation of knowledge based on probability and uncertainty”, rapidly improved the capacity of expert systems. Additionally, the integration of fuzzy logic into “decision support applications” provides an effective representation of how a human would handle complex situations containing high levels of uncertainty.
Doctors in low-income countries can use expert medical systems to help them diagnose patients and choose treatment plans. In some situations, expert systems can take on the role of a human expert if one is not available. AI experts from Brazil and the United States have created an expert fuzzy logic system to predict asphyxiation in developing countries. Research has shown that this prediction system “was 77% sensitive and 95% specific to” recognize the need for resuscitation of infants in hospitals.
An additional application of AI relevant to developing countries is in disease prevention. Artificial intelligence in medical epidemiology is a specialized field that uses AI to predict the onset and spread of disease in a specific area. AI systems aim to predict and control the spread of disease in Manila, Philippines. A âmachine learning toolâ has been created by AI experts to track weather and land use patterns related to dengue. After extensive testing, the machine has learned to calibrate its predictions and models of dengue outbreaks more accurately.
4 groupings of AI applications in global health
A report by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) divides the use of AI in global health into four segments:
- AI-enabled population health. AI-based population health refers to the ability of AI systems to map and predict the spread of disease through the aforementioned expert systems. Additionally, this technology includes risk management tools to understand which groups within a population are most at risk.
- Virtual health assistant for frontline health workers (FHW). This AI program can help frontline health workers by providing medical information and disease diagnosis. Providing AI to these FHWs will improve their ability to serve patients without patients having to travel to a healthcare facility. This will ease the burden on health facilities in low income countries. These facilities can be understaffed and overcrowded; therefore, allowing FHWs to diagnose and assist patients outside of these facilities would be beneficial.
- Virtual patient health assistant. It means putting AI technology in the hands of patients. With the global spread of smartphones, building healthcare apps and chatbots powered by AI technology would be of great benefit to people who may not have the funds to make multiple visits to healthcare facilities. . These tools can help patients decide if they need to see a doctor, where they can find them, and what to do while they wait.
- Doctor’s clinical decision support. This involves AI tools that support clinicians in ways such as reading diagnostic images, decision support, quality assurance, and training. This will give a perspective on past performance and possible mistakes.
Investment in artificial intelligence innovations
It is clear to most countries, especially countries with strong technology, that artificial intelligence innovations are worthwhile investments. China has declared the goal of becoming “the leading AI powerâBy 2030. Countries around the world are investing in AI technology because they recognize the growing value of the AI ââindustry and its wide range of applications. Countries like China can use their power and AI products as diplomatic bargaining chips with other states. If China decides to provide medical aid to low- and middle-income countries in the future, Chinese authorities should consider providing AI medical tools. The potential of AI is enormous. In addition, the application of AI technology in global health will benefit all countries, developed and developing.
– Wood of Wais