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From Pandemic to AI: Lessons in Containment from Kizzmekia Corbett

While exploring containment strategies for emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), a sudden retrospection led me to the reminiscent lanes of a recent global challenge—COVID-19. The crisis that gripped the world three years ago had us all scurrying for effective containment strategies, much like the scenario with AI today. The world desperately needed a solution to halt the virus, a feat that seemed almost impossible until the dawn of a groundbreaking concept—vaccine development and rapid deployment. This thought trail led me to delve deeper into the journey the global community embarked upon to devise vaccines, and in the process, I crossed paths with the name Kizzmekia Corbett.

Kizzmekia Corbett emerged as a cornerstone in the crusade against COVID-19. Spearheading a team of adept scientists, she orchestrated what went down in history as one of the most monumental strides in immunization—a vaccine against COVID-19 that wasn't just highly effective but could also be manufactured easily. The irony wasn't lost on me when I learned that this groundbreaking vaccine had the signature of a 35-year-old Black woman behind it.

At a point in time when I was immersed in strategizing a marketing campaign for a significant health system aimed at escalating vaccination rates among the African-American demographic, this piece of information could have served as a powerful narrative. The early days of the pandemic saw a discernible lag in vaccination rates in the Black community compared to their white counterparts. This disparity was often attributed to the historically rooted health-related injustices like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study that had sowed seeds of mistrust.

Had I been acquainted with Kizzmekia Corbett's narrative earlier, the campaign could have harnessed her groundbreaking achievements as a compelling story to bridge the vaccination gap. Discovering more about Corbett also revealed a relatable side—her musical preferences, a list topped by Beyoncé, Jeezy, and J. Cole, resonated well with many.

Inspired by her remarkable feat, I felt compelled to commemorate Corbett's contributions through a musical tribute. The resultant creation was a track titled “Corbett Clean” featuring Genesis Renji, serving as a melodic accolade to a figure whose relentless endeavors were pivotal in turning the tide against a global catastrophe.


The narrative of Kizzmekia Corbett's efforts against COVID-19 isn’t just a tale of triumph in the face of adversity; it underscores many valuable insights that can be instrumental as we grapple with the containment and ethical management of AI. Here’s how:

  • Rapid Innovation and Collaboration:
    The swift development and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine were a testament to what can be achieved through global collaboration, innovation, and knowledge sharing. Similarly, the containment of AI will require a concerted effort from the global community, encouraging open discussions and collaborations among nations, industries, and academia.
  • Ethical Consideration:
    The vaccine development process was laden with ethical considerations, ensuring it was carried out with the utmost integrity and concern for human welfare. As we advance in AI, embedding ethics, transparency, and accountability into its development and deployment is crucial to avoid misuse and ensure its benefits are equitably distributed.
  • Inclusivity and Diversity:
    Corbett’s role in vaccine development shatters stereotypes and highlights the importance of inclusivity and diversity in scientific and technological advancements. A diverse pool of thought can lead to more robust, inclusive, and practical strategies for containing and managing AI.
  • Public Engagement and Education:
    The pandemic saw a concerted effort to educate the public and dispel fears about the vaccine. Likewise, educating the masses about AI, its potential risks, and benefits is vital to foster a more informed public discourse and shape policies that are in the best interest of society.
  • Adaptability and Preparedness:
    The ability to rapidly adapt to new challenges and prepare for unknown threats was a key takeaway from the fight against COVID-19. In AI, fostering a culture of adaptability and preparing for potential risks is crucial to ensure we are not caught off-guard by the challenges that the rapid evolution of AI might bring.
  • Regulatory Frameworks:
    Clear regulatory frameworks facilitated the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Establishing robust regulatory frameworks for AI that balance innovation with ethical considerations is paramount to ensure its safe and responsible development.
  • Cross-disciplinary Approaches:
    The fight against COVID-19 required a multidisciplinary approach, combining insights from virology, immunology, epidemiology, and other fields. Similarly, an interdisciplinary approach to AI containment involving ethicists, psychologists, sociologists, technologists, and data scientists can provide a more holistic understanding and effective management strategies.

By extrapolating these lessons from the global fight against COVID-19, we can forge a path toward responsible AI containment and ensure that as we advance technologically, we do so with a keen eye on ethics, inclusivity, and the greater good of humanity.