‘’Predicting the future isn’t magic, it’s artificial intelligence.’’ -Dave Waters. The cutting-edge technology of artificial intelligence (AI)has contributed to improving the standard of living. AI is generally termed as the theory and development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that would normally necessitate human intelligence, such as visual processing, language understanding, judgment, decision-making ability, and language translation.
The field of biotechnology has flourished to a great extent with the employment of AI and its associated tools.The top biotech firms such as Biosorin, Biodyne, and nGenare spending money on ground-breaking AI tools in DNA sequencing, animal breeding, precision agriculture, equipment optimization, and assessing research data. Biotechnology encompasses various subfields including industrial biotechnology,food industry,health sector, agricultural biotechnology, and animal biotechnology, all of which can benefit from the developments associated with AI.
AI Applications in Health Biotechnology:
AI advancements in health biotechnology have paved the way for developing novel antibiotics and drugs.Innovative therapeutic compounds based on known target components can be identified with the aid of AI. Moreover, its two major areas, Machine Learning and Deep Learning have enabled researchers to combat challenges such as predictive & quantitative epidemiology, diagnostic testing, precision-based drugs, & interactive pathways between host and pathogen through improved risk analysis, resulting in accuracy & quick decision-making.AI-based tissue biomarkers are employed not only in disease identification but also help to detect the body’s response to drugs and patient survival.AI robots are designed to detect different objects, recognize certain situations, envision various patterns, and analyze results accurately based on data sets. These robots are built on different Al principles in combination with computer vision technology, efficiently carrying out various tasks such as drug storage and distribution, surgical assistance, genetic testing, cancer research, data collection, etc. in healthcare domains.Apart from applications in theranostics(therapeutics & diagnostics), it also plays an important role in efficient drug discovery and designing.
Role of AI during Covid-19 Pandemic:
Recently during the Covid-19 pandemic, AI played a vital role in mitigating the chaos by using algorithms such as vector machine, decision tree, & logistic regression to fight against COVID-19 through identification, categorization, prognosis, monitoring, drug reformation, and vaccine development, thus outshining humans in certain medical activities.
During the pandemic period, one of the finest institutions of Pakistan NUST has successfully developed kits based on AI to determine the threats of Covid-19 named as N-CovKit. These detection kitsdesigned on convolutional neural network (CNN) were approved by the Drug regulatory authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and thus proved to be cost-effective, highly potent, and had efficient targeted action.In addition, Aga Khan University and Hospital have designed AI-relatedapplications i.e. CoronaCheck. This app consists of an interactive chatbot that enables the users to assess the symptoms &guides them to take precautionary measures for the future .
GIKI has launched aDL-based algorithm i.e. DetectNow which detects the likelihood of COVID-19 by audio recognition of dry cough. With reference to vaccination, pharmaceutical company Pfizer employed Al tool i.e. Smart Data Query (SDQ) to analyze the quality of data retrieved from different clinical trials which in turn speed up the developmental process of COVID-19 vaccine.
AI in Pakistan:
Apart from the significant role of AI in COVID-19, Pakistan has taken notablebaby steps in the development of the respective field such asthe launch of the “Presidential Initiative for Artificial Intelligence & Computing” project (PIAC) which aims at promoting education and research activities in AI. Moreover, initiatives like the National Center of AI (NCAI), and the Department of Robotics and Intelligent Machine Learning at the NUST, and the establishment of AI labs in various institutions like UET (Lahore) & IBA (Karachi)have been taken for the country’s economic growth.
Obstacles and Solution to Tackle:
Although AI has gained recognition over the past few decades & medical applications of AI are expanding globally but Pakistan has been still lagging behind in the deployment of AI in healthcare systems. The biggest obstacle that Pakistan is currently facing in this regard is limited financial resources. A huge economic cost is required in order to broaden AIin the health sector which is unachievable without a strong economic foundation.Therefore, the allocation of more funds solely for AI-related projects and advancements is the need of the hour. Thus, in a nutshell, it can be said that there is still a long way to go for Pakistan in order to be benefitted from this particular field in a true sense .
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