Can machine learning be used to detect COVID-19 by analyzing a cough?

November 2, 2020

How effective will that be?

I believe I’m speaking to everyone when I say that 2020 is a rather crazy year. From wildfires, unexpected events, and global calamities not to mention the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is just hoping that everything will be back to normal soon. 

While the numbers of infected COVID-19 cases continue to rise and the race to develop a vaccine continues, some are finding ways on how to combat the virus and one of these is through an app. A recent report published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) said that it is using Machine Learning as a way to analyze coughs, which in turn could diagnose if you have COVID-19.

The report, which you can view here, said that the company utilized Machine Learning to listen to about 70,000 recordings made by volunteers. From the 200,000 samples collected, around 2,500 were confirmed to have COVID-19 and/or asymptomatic. From this data, ML managed to get a 98 percent accuracy on which coughs were infected with the virus.

The report came with this conclusion: “AI techniques can produce a free, non-invasive, real-time, any-time, instantly distributable, large-scale COVID-19 asymptomatic screening tool to augment current approaches in containing the spread of COVID-19. Practical use cases could be for daily screening of students, workers, and public as schools, jobs, and transport reopen, or for pool testing to quickly alert of outbreaks in groups.”

The researchers added that with this data, they can be able to develop an app that anyone could install, utilizing AI and ML to help detect COVID-19. It was also added that this functionality can also be extended to smart speakers running Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant.

The report looks plausible, but you can’t help but wonder how effective this will be. Still, studies like these make for an interesting conversation, and point to how far technology has come considering the increasing reliance of some apps and services on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Would you be confident enough to use an app to diagnose COVID-19? Let us know in the comments!

[Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels]

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.