• Muhannad Elhabbal

COVID-19: Has AI Failed to Deliver?


In the context of the global pandemic, public and private sectors face a heightened demand to understand and respond to unprecedented risks. This holds especially true for entities whose products and services have proved necessary for national security.


Judging by the response to COVID-19, to most countries, national healthcare has become part and parcel to national security worldwide.

Decision-makers are scrambling for capabilities that can track population surge activity around hospitals, shops, and transport hubs to evaluate overcapacity and assess the effectiveness of current control measures.

They are also demanding solutions to discern correlation of population travel patterns between infection hotspots, and to identify anomalous population movement as an indicator of changing behaviors. As such, risk practitioners supporting COVID-19 mitigation efforts have come to realize that there is a need for more effective truth-finding capabilities. Those who rely on legacy technology or rule-based systems requiring a specific input or trigger words to generate a mere raw information output are increasingly overwhelmed by the sheer mass of available data. For healthcare and other national security enterprises, rule-based systems are cumbersome and are quickly becoming obsolete because of their reliance on highly structured data and pre-programmed indicators.


This is where an intuitive, AI-enabled solution, must come into play to help decision-makers to focus their limited resources to answer key risk questions regarding imperative issues at hand.

The value-add of AI-enabled applications is the ability to dynamically structure and analyze data in a smart, but above all, characteristically intuitive fashion. These applications are also set apart by their capacity to generate unique behavioral models of pertinent subjects—such as places, events, and persons of interest—coupled with their intuitive capacity to further still identify when a deviation from these standard baseline models takes place.

Additionally, these systems can be taught languages, rules, and patterns, and as such, they are more than capable of performing the above tasks, all while complying with privacy stipulations, civil liberty, ethical boundaries, legal authority, and other applicable business considerations worldwide. However, the most valuable asset that an AI-enabled application has to offer the wider global market—especially during this unprecedented time—is the ability to quickly sift through mountains of data related to COVID-19, from various sources and varied formats, and produce tailored and highly optimized output based on the users’ needs.

The vast amount of ever-changing data accrued each day regarding COVID-19 is crippling those who are monitoring the progress of their national healthcare efforts to combat this pandemic. Among other challenges, Google and Apple, etc. among others are struggling to report on contact tracing and in measuring the effectiveness of the social distancing and quarantine policies.


To support COVID-19 efforts, we’ve been able to accurately track the dynamic movement of populations across specific geographies worldwide, empowering policy-makers to gauge the effectiveness of COVID-19 control measures. By providing critical insight into the epidemiological characteristics of the virus, including predictive trends for transmission and population movement, governments can quickly analyze the impact of mitigation solutions and interventions affecting national, state and local populations. SI’s sensemaking artificial intelligence, mapping visualization and rapid assimilation of relevant datasets (i.e. terabytes of unstructured data) can give decision-makers the intelligence they need during this crisis.

In the last analysis, it is clear that intuitive collection, organization, and presentation of data is critical in supporting national security initiatives. Most organizations cannot afford to spread themselves thin and become vulnerable at a time when all attention must be directed toward the common good of every citizen. The effects of COVID-19 indicate that national healthcare is a key component of national security and demands effective intelligence support backed by AI-enabled solutions.