AI Insights

AI and Coronavirus Policies: Impact on the Economically Vulnerable

March 23, 2020

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1.5 billion people across the globe urged to stay home to halt coronavirus spread. What will that mean for the economically vulnerable?

Governments around the globe have made halting the spread of the coronavirus their top priority. With ever-more-stringent policies of social distancing and quarantines, local and global industries are shutting down. As normal life grinds to a halt, those in the informal economy and on the economic margins are expected to be especially hard hit. Omdena, in partnership with the UN AI for Good Global Summit and others, is launching an AI project to provide data-driven analysis around these complex issues to guide policymakers. 

Experts recommend that people stay at home, stock up on food and supplies and work remotely. “But there’s a key problem with that advice: A lot of low-income people can’t afford to follow it,” says Time’s Abby Vesoulis, in “Coranavirus May Disproportionately Hurt the Poor—And That’s Bad for Everyone”.

“Workers in the informal economy may not have the luxury of staying at home without paid sick leave. People living in or near poverty often lack disposable cash and cannot easily stockpile food.” according to Viday Diwakar, Senior Research Officer of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). In her articleFrom Pandemics to Poverty: the Implications of Coronavirus for the Furthest Behind” she continues, “Hunger, malnutrition, pneumonia and other forms of health-related shocks and stresses compound vulnerability to the virus and contribute to a vicious cycle of disease, destitution, and death.” 

In this Coronavirus Policy AI Challenge, a global community is collaborating to build AI models that reveal the direct and indirect impact of pandemic policies on the economic health of marginalized communities. Our aim is to support policymakers in identifying the most effective ways to minimize the economic suffering of those most vulnerable. 

Omdena is an innovation platform for building AI solutions to real-world problems through global collaboration. The global leader in Collaborative AI, our partners include the UN World Food Programme, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Resources Institute.

With this challenge, we’re partnering with the UN AI for Good Global Summit, PWG, Amazon Web Services, AI for Peace, Fruitpunch AI, LabelBox and others.

Have some expertise on these issues? We’re looking for policy and domain experts to join the two-month challenge. Please email us at [email protected]

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