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"There is a good service on all lines"

TFL announcer, Waterloo Station

A blog entry by Nadir Abrar, Barclays Business Banking

Snow joke this weather is it? Remarkably, TFL was reporting no disruptions on my route no matter how often I refreshed the page, dissipating murmurs of a snow day quicker than I could haul my sledge out of the garage.

Probably a good thing for my bones that I wasn’t allowed to recreate some of my favourite moments from PyeongChang 2018. Although with the rise of AI in healthcare maybe I won’t need to worry about breaking bones anymore?

AI and healthcare is a rapidly growing field with the potential to transform the industry immensely. Whilst it does not protect you from attempting a perfectly executed 5M jump in Greenwich Park, it can help prevent and prematurely detect diseases.

When Zuckerberg speaks so passionately about AI, quite often he refers to the dramatic change AI can herald within our healthcare.

I can live infinitely eh, but how does this really work Albrar Einstein?

Ah elementary my binary digital friend, through the use of algorithms and software AI’s role in healthcare is really to play the role of the human but at a very precise level when exposed to medical data. It does this by providing a computer a conceptual framework for processing and making decisions based off this.

Broadly speaking, there are two wide categories of applications of AI in healthcare. First is AI on structured data (information with a high degree of organisation) primarily driven by deep learning algorithms (image analytics & predictive analysis).

There is also a particularly interesting area within medicine that uses cognitive computing (natural language) within healthcare. This can be seen by virtue of apps that play the role of GPs saving you the trip to a gloomy doctor’s surgery.

Seriously, is there anything AI can do to transform the entertainment in a hospital waiting room from 3rd rate magazines?

What does this mean?

If you think about it simply, machine learning is most effective when there is a lot of data.

If there is one thing the medical industry has, if not GP surgeries with an abundance of tabloid magazines telling me about why Katie Price broke up with her husband, it’s a shed load of data, just waiting to be processed.

Has anyone got some water? It’s getting hot in here.

Why is this important?

When you think of the impact AI will have on healthcare you don’t even have to consign it exclusively to disease identification. The advent of wearables, more precise measurement of your health care habits and ultimately the connectivity of things means the application of AI can help personalise a lifestyle to potentially prevent diseases.

We are able to now better track our health & wellbeing. What AI allows us to do is join the dots to help create a lifestyle that is more in tune with ourselves, our own idiosyncratic ways, for a better quality of life. This isn’t limited to physical health, we are even trying to combat mental health by using proactive techniques (sentiment analysis) to help identify situations where further support may be needed.

In this notoriously underfunded, oversubscribed industry, there is a genuine case for AI to be used to break down the vast stores of data to accurately diagnose conditions and free up time for healthcare professionals to deal with those issues which still require a human touch.

In the case of online doctors vs GPs, of course there is a certain degree of risk but the intention is not to reduce human contact but to increase contact where there is genuine need.

Will this destroy the human race?

No, in fact this is one area of society where you can genuinely feel a sense of AI empowering the human. Far from destroying the human race the goal is to eradicate inefficiencies in the healthcare system, something we can all get behind.

With the potential of algorithms diagnosing skin cancer as accurately as a board certified dermatologist, AI can give access to people from all backgrounds to the best healthcare professionals there are. It makes healthcare non-discriminatory and that can only be positive.

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