artificial intelligence (AI)

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Open Source Projects Are Transforming Machine Learning and AI

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have quickly gained traction with the public through applications such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. The true promise of these disciplines, though, extends far beyond simple speech recognition performed on our smartphones.  New, open source tools are arriving that can run on affordable hardware and allow individuals and small organizations to perform prodigious data crunching and predictive tasks.

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OpenMRS Google Code-In Student Nji Collins Wins Grand Prize

In Nov. 2016, Nji Collins (aka Collin Grimm), a high school student from Bamenda, Cameroon, participated in Google Code-In, the global online coding contest which for pre-university students aged 13 to 17. GCI introduces young talented minds to the incredible open-source world. During the seven-week program, Grimm completed 20 tasks using the Open Medical Record System, or OpenMRS, a platform that focuses on improving healthcare service in developing countries. We spoke with the young programmer to learn more about his story and interest in computer science and how he came to compete in Google Code-In...

Pardon Me, Your Interface Is Showing

In a great post, "Doctor as Designer" Joyce Lee laments the "sad state of product and design in healthcare," and asks "when will device and drug companies create user-centered innovations that actually improve the lives of patients instead of their bottom line?" I heartily agree with Dr. Lee's point, and think the question can be extended to the rest of the health care system. Dr. Lee uses two examples to compare health care to consumer goods. Heinz took a product design -- the glass ketchup bottle -- that had been around for over a hundred years, and greatly improved the user experience by changing to a squeezable "upside down" bottle. This not only kept the ketchup from concentrating at the bottom but also avoided the need to hold the bottle at a special angle or to tap at a particular spot just to get the ketchup out...

Penn Medicine Releases Open Source, 'Self-Service' Artificial Intelligence Tool for Data Analytics

Press Release | Penn Medicine | May 16, 2019

The Penn Medicine Institute for Biomedical Informatics has launched a free, open-source automated machine learning system for data analysis that is designed for anyone to use, from a high school student looking to gain insight on their baseball team's statistics, to trained researchers looking for associations between cancer and environmental factors. "Penn AI," the first widely available tool of its kind, seeks to lower the barrier for entry into artificial intelligence, allowing users to bring in their own datasets or use the several hundred that are available for download within the tool. With a user-friendly dashboard easily run on a laptop, Penn AI is also designed to learn as it goes, ultimately making analysis suggestions based on the "experience" it gains through use.

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Questions About The FDA’s New Framework For Digital Health

Nathan G. Cortez, Nicolas Terry, and I. Glenn Cohen | Health Affairs Blog | August 16, 2017

In June 2017, the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb pre-announced his agency’s Digital Health Innovation Action Plan that indicates notable shifts in the agency’s approach to digital health technologies. This plan is an important step in FDA regulation of this area, a process that began in 2011 with a draft guidance, followed by significant congressional actions. The new changes should not be surprising, given critiques published by Gottlieb prior to re-joining the FDA...

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Recursion Releases Open Source Data from Largest Ever Dataset of Biological Images, Inviting Data Science Community to Develop New and Improved Machine Learning Algorithms for the Life Sciences Industry

Press Release | Recursion | May 6, 2019

Recursion, a Fast Company "Most Innovative Company" and leader in the artificial intelligence for drug discovery movement, today announced it will open-source a glimpse of the massive biological dataset the company has been building for more than five years. At more than two petabytes, and across more than 10 million different biological contexts, Recursion's data is the world's largest image-based dataset designed specifically for the development of machine learning algorithms in experimental biology and drug discovery.

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Robots Can Now Officially Imitate Humans

Kabir Chibber | Quartz | June 8, 2014

A computer that has convinced humans it is a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy has potentially passed a benchmark for artificial intelligence for the first time.  The programme, named “Eugene Goostman” and created by Russian developers, managed to convince 33% of the judges that it was human at an event at the Royal Society in London, The Independent reported...

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Robots in Healthcare - Will they do the Heavy Lifting?

There are already robots in health care.  Robotic surgery, delivery robots, robotic prescription dispensing systems, even therapeutic robots used in lieu of pet therapy  But we've just scratched the surface, because we still think of care as being something that is delivered by a person. People like to talk about the importance of the human touch, but when it comes to something like getting out of bed when I want to, I think I'd rather have immediate service from a robot than an indeterminate wait for help from an aide.  And there are some more unpleasant tasks -- like assistance with going to the bathroom -- where I'd prefer not to have to ask another person to help me at all.  Sometimes impersonal is better (just be gentle, please).

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Softbank’s Humanoid Robot Will Be Great For Tending To Japan’s Elderly

Adam Pasick | Quartz | June 5, 2014

The Japanese telecoms firm Softbank has unveiled a humanoid robot named “Pepper,” promising that it will be able to read and express emotions, and eventually serve as a medical worker, party companion, or even a babysitter...

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Tech Giants Back White House Open Source Health IT Initiative

Six major technology companies have thrown their support behind the White House's initiative to use an open source, collaborative, approach to accelerate the progress of health data standards and interoperability and to give patients access and control of their medical records. The companies; Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce signed a pledge that was presented at the White House's Blue Button 2.0 developer conference. The conference took place last Monday. Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) told the press that “As transformative technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence continue to advance, it is important that we work towards creating partnerships that embrace open standards and interoperability.

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Tech Giants Pledge $1bn for 'Altruistic AI' Venture, OpenAI

Staff Writer | BBC | December 12, 2015

Prominent tech executives have pledged $1bn (£659m) for OpenAI, a non-profit venture that aims to develop artificial intelligence (AI) to benefit humanity. The venture's backers include Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, Indian tech giant Infosys and Amazon Web Services. Open AI says it expects its research - free from financial obligations - to focus on a "positive human impact"...

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Tech Industry Pledges to Improve Healthcare Through Open Source Health IT

Press Release | Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) | August 13, 2018

Today, ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield and several ITI member companies participated in the Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference at the White House where they announced their commitment to removing barriers for the adoption of technologies for healthcare interoperability, particularly those that are enabled through the cloud and AI...“Today’s announcement will be a catalyst to creating better health outcomes for patients at a lower cost,” said ITI president and CEO Dean Garfield. “As transformative technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence continue to advance, it is important that we work towards creating partnerships that embrace open standards and interoperability.

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The Growing Rivalry Between Google and IBM

Greg Satell | Forbes | September 11, 2016

Still the growing rivalry is unmistakeable. Very few companies are capable of developing this type of deep learning technology and clearly, both IBM and Google are leading the pack. To be sure, other companies such as Facebook and Microsoft are also developing capabilities in this area, but up to this point at least, they don’t seem to have made quite as much progress.

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The Microsoft Empire Strikes Back: Makes Major Inroads into Healthcare

It seems deeply ironic that a week after I wrote about how even giant companies eventually get surpassed, I'm writing about the resurgence of one such giant, Microsoft. Last week Microsoft won back the title of world's most valuable company (as measured by market cap), passing Apple. Apple had that distinction since 2012; Microsoft hasn't had it since 2002. Admittedly, Microsoft was only able to pass Apple because a recent tech stock downturn dropped Apple from its record trillion-dollar valuation, and, as of this writing, Apple has pulled back in front again, but the fact that it is a race again says a lot about Microsoft.

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The Most Important Health Care Jobs of the Future

Fast Company ran an interesting article The Most Important Design Jobs of the Future, predicting 18 of the most important design jobs of the future (at least 3 to 5 years out).  A couple of them were in health care, and arguably all of them would have some impact on health care, but I thought it might be fun to do a similar list specific to health care, and not limited to design. Let's hope no one comes back in a few years to show how wrong I was. I'll skip the usual suspects -- e.g., doctors, nurses, pharmacists.  Yes, those jobs will (almost) certainly still be around, but they may not be central as they are today.  And those jobs will evolve in ways that reflect the trends illustrated by the jobs I list...