PH gov’t urged to seek access to AI tools of WHO for Covid-19

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A party-list lawmaker is urging the Philippine government to request for access to the artificial intelligence (AI) tools that the World Health Organization (WHO) is using to fight the novel coronavirus.

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“When the WHO declared the Covid-19 spread as a pandemic, they also revealed at the end of their press conference that they are using artificial intelligence tools to see how the coronavirus is behaving and could behave in the near future,” ACT-CIS party-list representative Jocelyn P. Tulfo said in a press statement.

Tulfo said the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) should secure access to the AI tools to guide the country’s efforts to contain and stop Covid-19.

“It would probably be best if the WHO and its AI collaborators could share the software or the source code with our government, so we could have more precision in how we address Covid-19,” the solon said.

“But if they are unable to share the software or the source code, the very least they could do is crunch the numbers for us, as the data become available, and then quickly send us the results on a continuing basis.”

Tulfo also called on local AI experts, data scientists, and specialists to help DOH understand the contact tracing information and other data.

“We need people who will assist in contact tracing, gather the data, create the database, and apply artificial intelligence to identify the next steps, point us to where the virus is going, so the authorities can intercept and execute containment measures,” she said.

“We need defense, offense, and artificial intelligence. This virus is spreading like wildfire. We need people and technology to help put the fire out sooner rather than later.”

The lawmaker said the newly released funds from the Office of the President can be used in AI as an investment in prevention against and cure of the dreaded disease.

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