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AI & Machine Learning

How Cloud AI is helping during COVID-19

May 6, 2020
Rajen Sheth

VP, Product Management, Cloud AI and Industry Solutions

For years, I’ve been challenging people who advocate for the potential of artificial intelligence: Before you turn to AI as a solution, find a specific problem that needs solving. Now that we’re faced with a global pandemic, there is no shortage of immediate, complex problems that need to be solved.

People are coming together to take on the challenges we’re facing due to the novel coronavirus, and AI is proving to be a valuable tool. From sifting through huge research datasets to finding potential treatments, to more accurately forecasting the spread of the disease, to powering virtual agents to answer questions about COVID-19, AI is helping all kinds of organizations. In this post, we’ll look at a few ways we’re trying to help out.

Finding answers with the Kaggle Community

In March, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced that it had 29,000 articles, which has now grown to more than 59,000, that may contain answers to key questions about the virus. It turned to Kaggle, a Google Cloud subsidiary, to call upon its community of more than 4 million data scientists to use AI to help find these answers. Participants have already developed several text and data mining tools to search through this dataset, named COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), to help answer critical questions like, “What do we know about COVID-19 risk factors?”, “What do we know about the virus’ genetics, origin, and evolution?”, and more.

That same week, Kaggle doubled-down on its own efforts and challenged its community of data scientists in two forecast competitions: One focused on forecasting the spread of COVID-19 around the world, the other forecast the spread of the disease within California. 

Data scientists across the globe are collaborating to help the medical community defeat COVID-19, and you can keep up-to-date with our challenges at kaggle.com/covid19, and see the progress our community is making towards achieving the goals we’ve discussed here at kaggle.com/covid-19-contributions

Rapid Response Virtual Agent program

In early April, we launched the Rapid Response Virtual Agents program to help organizations that have been inundated with customer questions about the pandemic. The program helps businesses quickly build and implement a customized Contact Center AI virtual agent to respond to customer questions via chat or voice allowing customers to get 24/7 support.

Albertsons Companies

The pandemic sparked a number of inquiries from our customers, causing a rush of calls, and impossibly long wait times. With the Rapid Response Virtual Agent program we were able to quickly set up our virtual agent, answering questions and directing traffic at the first inquiry level. Saving us time and money, while better servicing our customer’s needs.

Cameron Craig, Vice President Digital Product, Design & Experience

PPP Lending AI Solution

Last week, Google developed the PPP Lending AI Solution to help integrate Google’s AI-based document ingestion tools into lenders’ existing underwriting components and lending systems to make them more efficient. 

The PPP Lending AI Solution has three components, each of which can be used individually or in combination with each other:

  • The Loan Processing Portal is a web-based application that lets lending agents and/or loan applicants create, submit, and view the status of their PPP loan application. 

  • The Document AI PPP Parser API enables lenders to use AI to extract structured information from PPP loan documents submitted by applicants. This component is available at no cost through June 30, 2020. 

  • Loan Analytics enables lenders to quickly onboard historical loan data, assist with the de-identification and anonymization of sensitive information, store information securely, and perform data analytics on this historical loan data. 

We’ve always known that one of AI’s great strengths is helping solve complex problems, and with the pandemic we’re faced with a particularly challenging one. We’ll continue to build and deploy our AI capabilities to help during this time, and to help customers solve their trickiest problems into the future.

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