Tracking China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak

Researchers are using advanced technology—including AI, natural language processing (NLP) and satellite imaging—to track how the new coronavirus has impacted China.

According to a new report from IEEE Spectrum, a private Chinese banking company found a way to use its own deep learning model to measure the area’s response to COVID-19. The algorithm can shine light on key economic factors—employee activity and so on—while also providing fresh insight into what might happen if the disease gets worse in other countries.

“The team used its neural network to analyze visible, near-infrared, and short-wave infrared images from various satellites, including the infrared bands from the Sentinel-2 satellite,” according to the report. “This allowed the system to look for hot spots indicative of actual steel manufacturing inside a plant. In the early days of the outbreak, this analysis showed that steel manufacturing had dropped to a low of 29% of capacity. But by Feb. 9, it had recovered to 76%.”

Researchers also estimated that about 75% of the Chinese workforce had returned to work by Marc 10. And NLP was used to explore social media outlets and other key online resources, finding that telecommuting for work was up 537% since Jan. 1 and online education is up 169%.

Click below to read the full story rom IEEE Spectrum: