Facebook uses AI to forecast COVID-19 spread across the US

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The researchers believe their system could be more effective not just by offering a more complex model, but by making relatively few assumptions.

The social media giant is publishing updated forecasts every week on the Humanitarian Data Exchange. It also hopes to translate its methods to Europe through a team-up with Barcelona’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. The US forecasts will be included in European Commission-oriented reports to help understand global COVID-19 hotspots.

Whether or not this will prove useful stateside depends on adoption, not to mention real-world accuracy. If it works as promised, though, it could help officials adjust hospital capacity and implement milder restrictions. Vaccines and reliable treatments are the ultimate ways out of the pandemic, but Facebook’s AI could keep conditions more bearable until that moment.

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