In the world of data-driven decision making, the need for insightful information is critical. However, insights are not always readily available, and that’s where innovative approaches come into play. Transfer learning is one such approach.
Transfer learning involves the re-application of an already trained machine learning model to a different but related problem. The knowledge gained from a previous task is exploited to improve generalizations about something else.
We implemented this powerful concept in India, with highly promising results.
The India Case Usually, when we are predicting infectious disease hotspots in a specific region, we collaborate with local partners and/or government agencies. We combine their case finding data with open source data, such as social demographics and contextual data, to make various predictions about infectious disease hotspots. However, this time around - and more to assess proof of concept - we approached the issue differently. Because we didn’t have relevant data available for India, we used an alternative methodology. We wanted to answer this question: Can we create a model for infectious disease hotspots in India based on a transfer learning approach?
We took the data from a different country, but one with both a similar social demographic profile and risk of TB. Gratifyingly, we were able to create a highly-granular model, even at the neighbourhood level of TB hotspots.
This was an inspiring project for us, with intriguing future applications. Those in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, can use this methodology for understanding potential markets, product opportunities and areas for expansion, especially in regions where data may be scarce or limited. Because there frequently isn’t sufficient information readily available in various unchartered territories, institutions are forced to rely on literature sources or published research. An AI-mediated transfer learning approach offers an interesting and viable additional method for gathering information.
In closing, our innovative approach, trialled successfully in India, allows companies to make informed decisions and predictions in unfamiliar markets, ultimately facilitating strategic growth and expansion.