Russia continues impressing. The First Deputy CEO “Sberbank” Alexander Vedyakhin told TASS that the bank could develop a system of COVID-19 cough identification based on artificial intelligence.
“The capabilities and competencies of the Sberbank’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory let us create a system which algorithms will be able to identify “COVID cough,” the bank’s press service quoted Vedyakhin.
The idea is not a new one. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where both artificial intelligence and management are more professional than in Gref’s “Sberbank” (Herman Gref is CEO of “Sberbank” – ed.), tried to do something similar. But they quickly abandoned the idea. Taking responsibility for diagnosing a deadly disease when every minute can be decisive, is irresponsible and threatening mass lawsuits. But this is in America.
The American institute cannot take such a risk, but “Sberbank” is ready to start disposing of other people’s money and other people’s lives. Developing this “artificial and intellectual miracle,” the bank will be able to write off tens of millions of public money for a promotional toy. And if it means only financial expenses, it will be possible to be happy that it was not the most expensive and unnecessary Russian project.
Other expensive IT toys – such as non-working robots or face identification systems – were much more expensive and just as useless as the current one. And virtual AI-Lawyers (artificial intelligence – ed.) generally existed only in the spent budgets.
Under the old schemes, Herman Gref can “write off” the costs: just the bank’s failed rebranding with repairs of all the offices will cost much more than all of his IT projects.
By the way, “Sberbank” promoted itself amidst COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic: joined the testing, spent on the Russian vaccine three bln RUB. And then it was promoting his “miracle-mathematical model,” which allegedly could count the number of patients per day and reach the peak of the pandemic.
And there was another miracle of innovation, namely – a robot disinfector, which Gref promised to provide almost all Russian hospitals. In real life, only one copy was tested in the elite private medical centre “EMC,” and there, probably, died inefficiently.
By the way, the anti-scientific nature of Gref’s “new” idea of cough identifying COVID-19 is so apparent that it does not require any explanation. Each person’s cough is determined by a set of chronic diseases, areas of the respiratory system damage, individuality of the immune system, and many other features of each organism. It is not possible to determine even the type of pneumonia by external sound, let alone a virus type.
If the Russian shareholders of “Sberbank” have for some reason to tolerate the outright withdrawal of money, then what are the foreign shareholders thinking about, which share is 44% in the Russian state bank? Especially since they know how to count money. Maybe they are waiting for a political and economic opportunity to conduct an audit and file billions of lawsuits? So perhaps it’s time now.
Yuri Fedorenko, an analyst, an expert on public communication
The author’s opinion does not always correspond to the editorial position.