The Coronavirus Is Increasing Investments In AI

Machines can excel at handling data in fast-changing circumstances, which means machine learning systems can be harnessed to work as tireless and unbiased super-researchers. Economic analysts are now saying that one of the unexpectedly beneficial effects of the Coronavirus is to significantly speed up investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Nanotechnology.

AI has the power to accelerate the process by reasoning across all available biomedical data and information in a systematic search for existing approved medicines, a vital step in helping patients while the world waits for a vaccine. Investment in AI related healthcare is expected to grow at a rate of nearly 50% extra a year towards a market set to be worth $1.333 trillion by 2027.

As China initiated its response to the virus, it leaned on its strong technology sector and specifically AI, data science, and technology to track and fight the pandemic.  In fact, the BlueDot’s AI warned of the threat several days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organisation issued their public warnings. 

Nanotechnology could also counter the disease using nanoparticles that can offer alternative methods to classical disinfection protocols used in healthcare settings, thanks to their intrinsic anti-pathogenic properties.

The acceleration highlights wide recognition that the world cannot afford the human and economic cost of another pandemic.
At present, 70% of global healthcare provision is spent on providing care for the last few months of our lives. It is further accepted that the pandemic has shown the inefficiency of the world’s centralised healthcare model and its poor outcomes, with far reaching economic effects and negative impacts on treating cancers, mental health, cardio-vascular conditions, and the emerging challenge from Long COVID.

Observers say this will trigger the greatest transformation of investment in advanced healthcare technologies in 50 years. These include sophisticated nano-technology-based diagnostics, biomarkers, vaccines, novel therapies, highly targeted nanomedicines and AI, allowing us to move to a more sustainable, digitised, decentralised and democratised point-of-care environment.

Investors are already switching to this accelerated model, away from traditional healthcare infrastructure and onto point of care and precision medicine. This delivers sustainable healthcare economics as well as improving life and longevity. Such investment is expected to bring transformational impact and returns over the next decade and beyond.

This trend was apparent before COVID-19 but investment in healthcare technology in the second half of 2020 has already reached record levels and is set to climb significantly over the next decade.

Paul Stannard of technology investment firm Vector Innovation Fund, has said: “Globally, we have had to deal with Ebola, Zika Virus, Bird Flu, and now COVID-19 in one decade, but the economy must adapt to a new future, where prevention and early intervention as well as using AI to drive more sustainable models for healthcare and investment....One example of this is the profound change in telemedicine in just a few months. These technology solutions for GPs and patients, have allowed us to monitor and support many more patients during this pandemic, the start of an unstoppable transformation."

A recent report by KPMG and HFS Research highlighted how companies and governments need to make smart investments in emerging technologies if they are to prevail against future pandemics: 65% of 900 global executives polled said: “We don’t have a choice or we risk threatening our very existence.”

According to Paul Sheedy founder of the World Nano Foundation, an international organisation promoting the commercialisation of nanoscale technologies, “Nanomedicine and the decoding of the genome have been enhancing healthcare for a number of years, but the pandemic has catapulted healthcare investment creating a “hockey stick” effect for investors"

Nanotechnology is forecast to more than double from $54.2 billion this year to $126.8 billion by 2027 and will create a positive force for change when combined with AI and machine learning, forecast on its own to soar 22.5% a year through to 2027 from a $284.38 billion market in 2019. 

One big effect of Coronavirus is to demonstrate that money is of limited value without sustainable life and a stable economy and one positive outcome from the current global crisis is a recognition of the urgent need to invest for the future in new technologies.
 

OECD:        World Economic Forum:       Nano-Magazine:       Forbes:        NCBI:      ACS Nano:

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