Artificial Intelligence: Apple and Google Will Partner on COVID-19 Contact Tracing

April 14, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence
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Contact-tracing by the two companies could monitor a third of the global population.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) have come together to develop smartphone technology against COVID-19. Users will be notified on their phone if they have come into contact with infected persons. (WORD OF HEALTH)

“All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems,” Apple said in a statement.

“Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders,” the company added.

Infection chances and contact tracing

Persons infected by the coronavirus may remain asymptomatic for as long as 14 days. During this period, the person can infect as many as 5 – 6 people.

These contacts get the early notification in case any person in the contact chain is diagnosed with the disease. They can, therefore, take social distancing and quarantine measures to block the further spread of the virus.

How it works

The two companies will establish contact tracing technology in two steps while protecting users’ privacy.

By May, iPhones and Android phones will have the functionality to wirelessly exchange anonymous information via apps run by public health authorities. The companies will also release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.

If someone tests positive for COVID-19, that data will get updated in the public health apps and that will trigger alerts on the Apple or Android smartphones of the people in the contact chain for the past 14 days.

In the second step, over a few months, Apple and Google will weave a Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform into the iOS and Android operating systems.

According to the companies, they will obtain users’ consent for all of the above to work. Moreover, they will not collect data, and privacy rights will be respected.

Related Story:  Artificial Intelligence: Startup Kogniz Uses AI With Health Cams to Detect Fever                                                 

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