IEEE Technology Policy and Ethics: Special COVID Issue 1

July 2021

Artificial Intelligence and Tactile Healthcare for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19

By Ali Nauman, Rashid Ali (Member, IEEE), Yousaf Bin Zikria (Senior Member, IEEE), and Sung Won Kim

The COVID-19 epidemic, and the recent related waves of variant outbreaks, have had a significant impact on every field of life. One of the major impacts of COVID is the increased stress on the already exhausted healthcare system. Tactile healthcare is revolutionizing healthcare systems. The 5G and Beyond-5G (B5G) technologies are expected to enable Tactile Healthcare applications, which are time-sensitive and critical. The 5G and B5G communication networks were constructed to support high data rates on an energy-efficient platform and to provide ultra-reliability and low latency. The use of Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithms, a type Machine Learning (ML), can enhance the capability of 5G and B5G networks by optimizing latency and reliability in terms of data delivery. The idea of RL algorithms is to make a system capable of mimicking the human brain and enhancing its abilities. The New Radio (NR) in B5G offers flexible Medium Access Control (MAC) frame structures and scalable numerology. The efficient MAC scheduling approaches are of prime importance for wireless networks. The efficient MAC scheduling protocols and RL algorithms ultimately solve the problems of reliability and latency for Tactile Healthcare applications. This article provides an overview of how ML can improve the scheduling protocols for MAC layers, which can increase the performance of tactile healthcare applications in B5G networks, and in turn, contribute to resolving the challenges of tele-surgery in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare systems. Moreover, this article provides open research issues due to NR’s flexible frame structure and scalable numerology in future directions.

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Towards the Support of 5G Networks During COVID-19

By Divya Gupta, Shruti, & Shalli Rani, Chitkara University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Chitkara University, Punjab, India, Shruti, Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma Dutta College, Chandigarh, India, Syed Hassan Ahmed, Independent Researcher, USA

Compared to the Second World War and the 1918 Spanish flu in terms of impact on human lives and behaviors, COVID-19 is a pandemic experienced worldwide. Maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks, and staying home to quarantine are some common measures being followed to date to help control the spread of this disease. In complying with these measures, human life has taken on a new normal in which routinely in-person activities such as shopping, training, education, meetings, entertainment, etc. have fully shifted from offline to online mode. This paradigm shift has accelerated the use of digital technologies uniquely among every human. The excessive use of telecommunication technologies has put an enormous strain on both fixed and mobile networks. Existing networks often encounter various challenges due to high traffic congestion on core networks which merely degrades its performance. Even in its early stage, the recently launched 5G network combines various features, such as enhanced mobile broadband and reliable low delay communication, to provide support for some of the challenges faced during this crisis. In addition, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) features have been embedded into 5G networks to enable autonomous and intelligent telecommunication networks. The use of AI can help in dynamic resource allocation due to the ability to assign resources to different locations on-demand in real-time vs. the static resource allocation implemented in existing networks.

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Emergence of AR and AI in Educational Institutions: A COVID-19 System Transition

By Debjit Majumder1, Indian Institute of Engineering Science & Technology, and  Shibpur and Anubhav Goswami, CMR Institute of Technology, Bengaluru

Humans have been subjected to pandemics for centuries. The last pandemic to have a severe hit on humans was in the 20th century. During this time. humans were barely on the brink of a major technological renaissance. Since then, a century has passed, and this race is standing again at the forefront of another severe pandemic referred to as COVID-19. Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, people have been forced to follow isolation and social distancing mandates. Augmented Reality (AR) has evolved as a major tool to link every piece of life’s puzzle during this tough time for businesses and educational institutions [1]. A report from the AR analytics and consulting firm, Digi-Capital, predicts that by 2025, implementation of AR and virtual reality (VR) in the field of education will merely be 0.02% of the total market size of AR/VR software (as shown in figure 1) [2]. This number needs to increase for the common good of everyone, and especially for the betterment of future education systems. This article attempts to shed some light on the implementation of AR in combination with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve online laboratory classes for students and to ensure that they will have an enhanced user experience and better practical exposure from remote locations.

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Covid-19 and the Future of Higher Education

By Oyenuga Michael Oyedele, PhD and Ahungwa Agnes Iember, Department of Marketing, Veritas University, Abuja, Nigeria

One of the deadliest diseases of our time is the respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which is popularly called COVID-19. This disease emanated from China in 2019 and has spread throughout the world, affecting over 200 countries [1]. This virus is so deadly that almost every sector of the economy has been affected—sports, education, religion, politics, tourism (just to mention a few). Countries in Europe and South America (e.g., Brazil, Peru) are more negatively affected compared with their counterparts in Africa. However, many believe that if countries in Africa had adequate testing facilities, they would have recorded more fatalities compared to what is presently obtainable. As of 9 June 2021, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa amounted to 5,009,823 which represented around 2.9 percent of the infections around the world. In the African continent, South Africa is the most affected country with more than 1.71 million infections [2].

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IEEE Technology Policy and Ethics Editorial Board



Dr. Ali Kashif Bashir

Dr. Syed Hassan Ahmed

Dr. Onur Alparslan

Dr. Adriana Bankston

Dr. Muhammad Bilal

Dr. Syed Ahmad Chan Bukhari

Dr. Syed Hashim Raza Bukhari

Dr. Ankur Chattopadhyay

Dr. Junaid Chaudhry

Dr. Kapal Dev

Dr. Yasir Faheem

Dr. Prasun Ghosal

Dr. Tahir Hameed

Dr. Sinan Hanay

Dr. Shagufta Henna

Dr. Fatima Hussain

Dr. Steve Jones

Dr. Mohammad Saud Khan

Dr. Mohammad Khosravi

Olga Kiconco

Dr. Jerry Chun-Wei Lin

Matteo B. Lodi

Dr. Gunasekaran Manogaran

Dr. Varun G Menon

Dr. Shakil Muhammad

Dr. Zeeshan Pervez

Dr. Shalli Rani

Dr. Mubashir Husain Rehmani
Dr. Kashif Saleem
Dr. Manik Sharma

Dr. Amit Kumar Singh