How AI can help in the fight against COVID-19: AI in healthcare needs data rules and oversight body!

“Artificial intelligence can absolutely help us fight Covid-19 and future viral diseases, but for this to happen we must all become digital citizens and part of a wider data infrastructure.”


That is the message from Professor Birgitte Andersen, CEO of London-based innovation think-tank Big Innovation Centre, at a recent All-party Parliamentary Group of Artificial Intelligence (APPG AI) meeting, which was held 6th of April 2020. The meeting was moved from UK Parliament to Webinar due to the Covid-19 crises. 

Big Innovation Centre is the, appointed by UK Parliament, Secretariat for APPG AI.

A Consolidation of Experts


The aim of the APPG AI meeting was to discuss the opportunities of AI in disease control, and also to critically reflect on the experiences of other countries who have used technology in the fight against Covid-19.

The meeting was joined by an expert panel of Professor Tim Spector (Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London and Honorary Consultant Physician at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals), Chris Harbron (Expert Statistician within the Methods, Collaboration and Outreach (MCO) Group of the Biostatistics Function, Roche), Professor Shannon Vallor (Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence, Futures Institute, The University of Edinburgh), Dr Richard Dybowski (AI Researcher, St John’s College, University of Cambridge), James Kingston (Deputy Director HatLab) and Adam Ricco (CEO Critical Future).

The meeting was Chaired by Stephen Metcalfe MP and Lord Clement-Jones CBEDr Désirée Remmert was the rapporteur for the report.


Read the Parliamentary Brief


Download the full report of the full findings on how AI can help in the fight against Covid-19, by clicking here

View photo gallery, by clicking here  

Results Reveal – View the full recording of the meeting


AI is only as good as the data we have available” it can be summarised, based upon the conclusions of the report:

The evidence presented suggests several crucial areas where AI technology could be deployed to significant effect in the battle against viral diseases, not least in improvements to pandemic-response measures – but regulations around the use of private citizen data are essential to any further progress.

  • Without rules, behavioural norms and regulations in place to ensure the fair and responsible use of public data, and the creation of a cross-border infrastructure that enables international and interdisciplinary collaboration on data information and epidemiological research, it is impossible for us to move in the direction of the collective good. The trust of the public that we will use their data fairly and anonymously is paramount.
  • One solution that has been proposed on the back of this meeting is the creation of an independent oversight body, responsible for the fair and ethical application of any data-driven public health measures. Represented by multiple disciplines and vulnerable groups, it would oversee the quality and governance of data and ensure that data-driven measures in the event of another pandemic would serve the public good.

APPG AI Sponsors


This showcase is an output of the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Artificial Intelligence (APPG AI)

The sponsors

Blue Prism, British Standards Institution, Capita, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, Creative England, Deloitte, Dufrain, Megger Group Limited, Microsoft, Omni Telemetry, Oracle, Osborne Clarke, PwC, Rialto Consultancy and Visa 

enable us to raise the ambition of what we can achieve.

Big Innovation Centre is the, appointed by UK Parliament, Secretariat for APPG AI.

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