Addressing Biodisaster X Threats With Artificial Intelligence and 6G Technologies
Background: With advances in science and technology, biotechnology is becoming more accessible to people of all demographics. These advances inevitably hold the promise to improve personal and population well-being and welfare substantially. It is paradoxical that while greater access to biotechnology on a population level has many advantages, it may also increase the likelihood and frequency of biodisasters due to accidental or malicious use. Similar to “Disease X” (describing unknown naturally emerging pathogenic diseases with a pandemic potential), we term this unknown risk from biotechnologies “Biodisaster X.” To date, no studies have examined the potential role of information technologies in preventing and mitigating Biodisaster X.Objective: This study aimed to explore (1) what Biodisaster X might entail and (2) solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging 6G technologies to help monitor and manage Biodisaster X threats.Methods: A review of the literature on applying AI and 6G technologies for monitoring and managing biodisasters was conducted on PubMed, using articles published from database inception through to November 16, 2020.Results: Our findings show that Biodisaster X has the potential to upend lives and livelihoods and destroy economies, essentially posing a looming risk for civilizations worldwide. To shed light on Biodisaster X threats, we detailed effective AI and 6G-enabled strategies, ranging from natural language processing to deep learning–based image analysis to address issues ranging from early Biodisaster X detection (eg, identification of suspicious behaviors), remote design and development of pharmaceuticals (eg, treatment development), and public health interventions (eg, reactive shelter-at-home mandate enforcement), as well as disaster recovery (eg, sentiment analysis of social media posts to shed light on the public’s feelings and readiness for recovery building).Conclusions: Biodisaster X is a looming but avoidable catastrophe. Considering the potential human and economic consequences Biodisaster X could cause, actions that can effectively monitor and manage Biodisaster X threats must be taken promptly and proactively. Rather than solely depending on overstretched professional attention of health experts and government officials, it is perhaps more cost-effective and practical to deploy technology-based solutions to prevent and control Biodisaster X threats. This study discusses what Biodisaster X could entail and emphasizes the importance of monitoring and managing Biodisaster X threats by AI techniques and 6G technologies. Future studies could explore how the convergence of AI and 6G systems may further advance the preparedness for high-impact, less likely events beyond Biodisaster X.