Health Care

Use of AI in Healthcare Industry

Lawrence TillsonAugust 21, 2019

Recently many healthcare companies have seen the potential of artificial intelligence as a tool in life sciences and biopharma, particularly in the field of drug development. However, due to the immense cost, only the largest of corporations have the capital to invest in AI. For instance, as of 2014 Google, through its parent company Alphabet, purchased an AI laboratory, called DeepMind, for the modest price of $650 million. This major purchase is part of a clever move towards the integration of AI and contemporary technology into the medical field. While this sort of integration has been happening for years the latest versatility of AI can majorly contribute to the healthcare field by leaps and bounds. According to Greg Corrado, a neuroscientist at Google, “the fundamental underlying technologies of machine learning and artificial intelligence are applicable to all manner of tasks…whether those are tasks in your daily life …or the kinds of task that doctors, nurses, clinicians and patients face ever day.” The health industry in the United States is big money; as reported by John Moore, an industry analyst who works at Chilmark Research, “it’s pretty hard to ignore a market that represents about 20 percent of [American] GDP. So, whether it’s Google or it’s Microsoft or it’s IBM or it’s Apple, everyone is taking a look at what they do in the healthcare space.” The role of AI will not only send the healthcare industry careening into the future but will make many of the top organizations immensely wealthy.

One project that Alphabet’s research organization, Verily, is working on is a software that will be able to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, which threatens the sufferers with blindness. They are also in the process of constructing contact lenses which can monitor the blood sugar levels of diabetics. DeepMind is also doing some amazing research since Google’s purchase. In early 2019, DeepMind won the Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction contest hosted by the Protein Structure Prediction Center. Proteins have three-dimensional structures, and the contestants had to attempt to predict the three-dimensional structure of specific human protein. The DeepMind team gave a prediction almost twice as accurate as the experts expected. Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a company based out of Salt Lake City, is currently combining AI, experimental biology, and automation to develop drugs at scale. In January 2019, they partnered with Takeda Pharmaceutical on classifying novel preclinical contenders for rare diseases; resulting in the identification of new therapeutic candidates in more than six diseases.

These are just a few examples of the beginning of numerous possibilities for combining futuristic technology and healthcare. The deepening of our commitment to improving lives and the expanding of companies’ investments can only lead to innovation and better health.

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