Artificial Intelligence & Automation in The Post COVID-19 Era

By Tyrone Furrer Published on May. 19, 2020

We can’t ignore the impact of artificial intelligence on basically every industry, from automating simple and repetitive tasks to performing specific and high complex functions that humans find difficult or even impossible to complete. 

Applications of AI Across Industries

AI technology has been introduced already across various sectors such as mobility, education, manufacturing, e-commerce, communication, health, insurance, finance, and many others. 

These are just a few examples of AI applications in some industries: 

  • Mobility:Autonomous cars, using AI to drive the car so you can take a nap while commuting to work. Isn’t that a dream? Yes, it is, and it will remain so for still some time. Anyway, AI applications are integrated into every new car manufactured today. From voice assistants to drive semi-autonomously, AI is already an essential part of the Mobility industry today. 

  • Health:Artificial intelligence plays a crucial part in the health sector's technological advancements, from autonomous surgical robots, virtual nursing assistants to automated image diagnosis. And there is still a place for more applications as the technology improves.

  • Manufacturing:Probably one of the industries where robots & AI technology are demanded the most. High-performing robots can work faster for longer periods, without stopping, as long as they have access to a power source). In some cases, they can be more efficient than humans. 

There are many more possible applications of AI that could be utilized in automated transportation of goods, climate change, deep-sea and space exploration. 

Let’s face it: AI is set for a massive takeover in the coming years. The question nowadays is, what can this technology do to help in the current pandemic? Will it be able to help to mitigate the costs and reduce the time needed for the Global Economy to recover after this crash?  

AI & Automation During the Covid-19 Pandemic 

AI during the Pandemic

During the pandemic, China has demonstrated the benefits of AI as a crisis management tool.  With the help of AI, this country was able to identify patterns from big data, support their health systems and control the spread. One good example of the success of AI in China is how it assisted in radiology technologies, speeding the diagnosis of large numbers of patients with the novel Coronavirus. 

Other nations unite expertise in order to expand AI’s current capability to fight against COVID-19. A number of applications have been deployed so far, and the following are just a few of the ways of how Artificial Intelligence and Automation could solve the health crisis: 

Disease Surveillance AI

With globalization in our daily lives, human activity, especially migrations, has caused the virus to spread virtually everywhere. It makes it especially difficult to track. Canada-based startup Bluedot developed a software solution to track, recognize and report the spread of the virus. The main concern are the sources of the data needed to feed this tool, which might present a risk of potential infringement to individual’s civil liberties, policy regulations, etc.

Virtual Healthcare Assistants 

Chatbots are not a novelty nowadays, but their use in the health industry was shallow. To help overwhelmed healthcare systems worldwide, Canada-based Startup developed an AI multilingual virtual healthcare agent. It can answer questions related to COVID-19 and provide information, clear guidelines, recommend protection measures, and even check and monitor symptoms. 

AI for Fever Detection and Facial Recognition

A simple camera with thermal sensors & facial recognition AI software can instantly detect people with fever, or i.e., if people are wearing or not wearing a mask. It is generally being used in airports and border controls. 

Automation of Disinfection

With the help of Robots, IoT and AI, the disinfection of goods, furniture, and even entire rooms can be done completely autonomously and without any human participation. Some startups, just as Gideon Brothers and UVENTIONS are working on these kinds of solutions. 

Information Verification AI

When we try to imagine the near-term future, uncertainty will come first for sure. It unavoidably resulted in the propagation of myths and fake news on social media platforms. Tech-Giants like Google or Facebook are deploying AI technology to try to combat the waves of these myths and conspiracy theories. 

What Should We Expect From The New Post Covid-19 Era?

Automation during the pandemic

The current global situation is pushing the development of robots and the improvement of AI to save lives and reduce human exposure to the COVID-19 outbreak. It could lead to a new era of robotic human helpers. 

A hotel in China makes use of robots to deliver food to people placed under quarantine. In Spain, a fleet of robots is being prepared to assist with the country’s coronavirus testing. Delivery drones are also under development and improvement by companies like Amazon and UPS to reduce the need for human labor. 

Companies want to be able to keep producing and selling during an unstable situation. To be able to do so, manufacturers will need to look closer than ever into AI & Automation.  

There are a lot of questions that are waiting to be replied: Which processes can they automate? How reliable will this automation be? What is the initial investment needed and ROI? And what will happen to all those employees that will get substituted by machines or even by just software? 

The interest in AI rises not only to substitute humans but also to support them in their daily work. The majority of office employees can work from home. This “pushed” digitalization of the workplace, will probably bring a new trend of WFH culture, with new needs. 

A simple example: if we don’t have a fancy background to show in our meetings, we will probably use a fake background picture, and thanks to AI integrated into the video-conference software, the camera is able to know what needs to be shown and what needs to be hidden on the background picture.  

Market Size Forecast 

This forecast comes from the report done during the COVID-19 wave. Afterward, we will compare it to the one published in 2019, a time where “Corona” was just the name of a Mexican Beer. 

Note: All the numbers are forecasted for the AI & Automation software market, it doesn’t include hardware using AI (i.e., Drones, Robots, Cameras, etc.) 

Even if we completely ignore the pandemic and its impact on the company's strategies, the growing volume and complexity of business data have forced many firms across a variety of industries to adopt AI to boost growth. 

According to data gathered by Learn Bonds, the global AI software market value will jump from $22.6B in 2020 to $126B by 2025. 

Looking at the region, North America is the leading AI software industry in the world and the Asia-Pacific region is ranked as the second-largest market globally. 


In the end, it’s quite clear that the coronavirus pushed and will continue pushing the improvement and further development of AI & automation, from their core-tech to their applications. 

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