Technology is developing, much better stated as accelerating, at an ever increasing pace. Computers use to take up entire rooms, yet today nearly everyone has a veritable supercomputer in their palms. With the increase in processing power, what was the science fiction of yesteryear is being developed and improved upon exponentially today.
Artificial or machine intelligence is the engineering and development of “smart” computer programs at its most basic definition.
The state of real “AI” has not yet been reached, but glimpses of it are present in our everyday lives. We have Siri, Cortana and Echo sending out messages, setting alarms, and ordering pizzas using natural-language processing and heuristics. Modern day supercomputers such as Deep Blue, Watson, and AlphaGo are capable of such a deep level of analysis and “thinking,” that they are able to outperform humans at the top of their fields.
Even with games that require human traits such as perception and intuition, without the “drawback” that the living possess: wakefulness, focus, and emotion.
Such technologies are currently being developed specifically for the healthcare sector with focuses on AI based clinical decision making, intelligent devices, automated reasoning, diagnostic imaging, coding and data aggregation.
Medymatch is an Israel based startup partnered with IBM Watson Health whose combined 3D imaging and AI driven algorithm uses patient specific data, allowing physicians an unprecedented amount of clinical decision making support in real time; for acute care situations in order to prevent management of chronic conditions.
This U.K. startup combines a digital app and serves patients using a combination of AI and visual and text consultations with physicians avoiding waiting rooms altogether. The AI serves to diagnose patients, freeing up physician time for areas where humans are vastly superior compared to machines. Another of Babylon’s ventures is an AI “triage” service that allows patients to get medical advice as an alternative to the NHS’s 111 helpline.
iCarbon, a Chinese based startup wants all of your body’s data in order to have a complete digital medical record. From genomic DNA data to physician ordered blood tests. Data from health wearables for sleep patterns, steps and heart rate. Add in data including lean body mass, weight and blood pressure in order to develop a comprehensive view of the body. The companies’ vision is essentially continuous monitoring, in order to provide suggestions for adjustment in nutrition and behavior to prevent slipping from health to ailment.
The initial hurdle that must be crossed in for a large majority of the healthcare sector is an open mind and willingness to adaptation and change. A concurrent AI-physician model of medicine will in the end alleviate patient complaints, physician burnout and improve efficiency of the medical dollar. With further development of these technologies also comes with it a variety of philosophical, social and ethical issues.