Los Angeles Times : “Online COVID-19 diaries are helping people cope. They’re also a research gold mine” (Sean Young quoted)

April 10, 2020

Daily COVID-19 diaries have multiplied across social media. Sean Young, an associate professor at UCLA and UC Irvine who studies digital behavior and prediction technology, said such social media sharing is to be expected during a health crisis like this. Researchers have been mining the internet for digital journals for various research projects that are helping healthcare workers tackle the coronavirus crisis. For example, in January, researchers at the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology were tracking Baidu search engine data in China when the virus was first spreading. The researchers are now doing the same in the U.S., developing artificial-intelligence-based models that take social media data, such as these daily symptom journals, to predict hospitalization rates before hospitals become overwhelmed.

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