INSESS-COVID19: Artificial intelligence to detect and attend to people in situations of vulnerability

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The digital transformation is the basis for constructing the new digital society. In it, one of the main challenges is to put people at the centre and evolve towards a social and digital construction in the areas of benefits, human rights, ethics and sustainability based on fundamental pillars. 

The consequences of the crisis caused by Covid-19 have been devastating from a health perspective, and everything indicates that it will also be devastating from economic and social well-being perspectives. Now, based on the use of data science, knowledge management and artificial intelligence and using data generated and gathered at the time, a snapshot can be obtained in just a few minutes of what is happening to people in situations of vulnerability. These analyses are critical to anticipate situations of crisis and social emergency.

As part of the INSESS-COVID19 project (Identification of emerging social needs as a result of Covid-19 and the impact on social services in the territory), in which the research centre Intelligent Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (IDEAI) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) has participated, a line of technology has been developed with a mixed method. By combining data science techniques, knowledge management and artificial intelligence, the method has enabled social needs caused by Covid-19 to be identified and elements of support to be provided for the creation of public policies on social services in Catalonia. This will enable rapid, suitable responses to be generated to current situations. 

The project revealed the vulnerabilities of the Catalan population during the early months of the pandemic and provides elements for decision-making for the 105 Basic Associations of Social Services of Catalonia to address these vulnerabilities. 

This innovative approach is based on mechanisms for obtaining fast data, using participative processes that involve social services experts and citizens. The smart technology of INSESS-COVID19 has been key for decision-making and strategic planning during a disruptive situation in which there are no systemic support data. 

A technology with many applications, at the service of government bodies

Beyond the pandemic, this technology can be applied in any other area with a survey aimed at a certain group. It is a tool of great value to establish participative policies and policies for managing unexpected situations, as it offers a flexible, safe channel for obtaining data from different groups of citizens in very short times, processing the data with advanced techniques and incorporating a smart generator of reports that are close to the final version, in a few hours.

The INSESS-COVID19 project, which began on 1 April 2020 and ended on 31 January 2021, had a total budget of €9,913. INSESS-COVID19 is the result of collaboration between IDEAI of the UPC and the iSocial Foundation.

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