Opinion

No longer science fiction: How AI is transforming health care

4 min read

09 October 2017

As researchers and engineers build robotic assistants and cure diseases with AI, it’s forgivable to assume humans are harnessing machines to become invincible. But there is one thing that remains unsolved. Living longer, and staying healthier.

Being one of the most elusive battles we are trying to win, the anti-ageing market is expected to hit $345.8bn a year by 2018 courtesy of AI. With the human body being one of the most complex systems we know, it’s a fact that the way we age is one of the most fundamental questions of our time.

We know the single greatest risk factor for most non-pediatric diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, is age. Every year beyond the age of 40, our risk for these diseases grows exponentially.

It’s because of this, and the desire to understand what’s driving this process, that has resulted in the recent “biotech boom”. There’s also a greater desire to find out how to increase one’s health and life span; AI sits right at the heart of all this.

Its biggest potential benefit is to help people stay healthier, for longer, which is why the use of AI and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) in consumer health applications is already helping people to do this.

However, the main issue with the current applications and gadgets is that although it provides users with plenty of number and data, people don’t know what to make of it or how to turn this into actual health advice in order to make improvements.

Putting consumers in control of their own health and wellbeing is key when it comes to improving life expectancy and health, but in order to do so, we need to provide them with the right tools.

Take Eterly for example. Its mission is to understand why, as we grow older, our bodies start to fail us and to counteract this with “easy to apply” interventions that enables people to lead longer and healthier lives.

The focus is to provide customers with a set of new technologies that not only will integrate with any app or gadget they’re already using, but also provide a whole new insight into proactive management of a healthy lifestyle.

The business will leverage personal health and scientific data to help users choose the perfect life-extending diet and lifestyle. By doing this, they will be able to discover the predisposition of a person to certain diseases and make the appropriate recommendations.

Furthermore, by using a blockchain decentralised platform, this enables heightened security, collection of personal health data across multiple data points as well as the capability to deliver personalised health and scientific analysis showing how you can counteract onset of disease and increase the length of your life.

However, without AI, none of this would be possible. As AI increases the ability for healthcare professionals and scientists to better understand day-to-day patterns, this understanding will be used to provide better feedback, guidance and support for staying healthy; an area of health management and health care that is only at its infancy.

Expectedly, some of the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs and business leaders, from the likes of Google, Oracle and numerous biotechnology companies, have all jumped on the bandwagon by investing into the biotech industry.

Visionaries such as PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who plans to live to 120, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who finds the notion of accepting mortality “incomprehensible,” are all part of the life extension movement is a quest to find out what life would look like divorced from death. From reprogramming DNA to printing organs, the chase is on to discover the secret to a longer life.

Written by Andrew Ahachinsky at Eterly.com