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COVID-19 and AI - a Retrospective on Major Trends
By Janna Lipenkova  |  May 27, 2022
COVID-19 and AI - a Retrospective on Major Trends
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The decade leading up the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic saw major growth in many areas of AI, including its many non-medical applications, and although the pandemic has altered the trajectory of some of these, it has also turbocharged existing trends and made the world even more digitalized than could have been imagined even just a few years ago.

BERLIN - The start of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020 was a bold and vibrant time for the artificial intelligence (AI) community. A growing need was clear for automation to reduce physical contact and enable a smooth transition into the work-from-anywhere mode. 

Facing these pressures, businesses were finally becoming more accepting about deploying artificial intelligence (AI), while AI providers were continuously pushing the boundaries of possibility with new ideas. On the other hand, efforts at AI governance and regulation had been intensifying in the preceding years. Thus, ethical, and regulatory considerations imposed certain limitations on the power of imagination of visionary AI entrepreneurs. All in all, one could feel a new creative energy even despite the physical isolation of the first round of lockdowns. The entire industry flourished, as stated in the Tortoise Global AI Index. AI investments, which had already been on a steady rise since 2010, more than doubled between 2020 and 2021.

As we begin to calm down about COVID-19, just as the world is already tumbling into a new set of challenges, let us pause and take a look backward. In this analysis, we will jump into a data-driven retrospective of prominent AI topics during the pandemic and see which insights we can take with us into the future. Note that while the healthcare domain was certainly the largest beneficiary of COVID-related AI developments, the following analysis will focus on non-medical topics that could potentially have a lasting impact for society and business.

Top COVID-19-Related AI Topics

The following chart shows the top AI topics that have been particularly prominent in the COVID-19 context in terms of their share-of-voice. These topics were selected from a comprehensive classification of some 900 AI topics that have been extracted fro

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