Artificial intelligence (AI) has long governed future speculations over its ability to master any discipline. Whether or not it can keep one healthy remains to be seen.
AI and healthcare
The introduction of AI aligned with the reduction of work hours for human beings. But, with the trajectory of development acquired by the field, complete or partial takeover of certain jobs is surmountable. AI is evolving many industries. One of those being the healthcare industry. With early innovation and perfecting existing practices, AI is transforming the way we analyze our health.
Benefits of involving AI
Human beings have a certain thinking capacity. Their ability to interpret problems and formulate decisions remains limited. However, AI is a field with untapped potential that has the possibility to provide solutions with faultless precision. Algorithms fed into AI can equate problems and come up with the best possible result.
This includes analyzing, a patient’s lab results, their medical images (like MRI, CT scan) with unrivalled pace. This enables AI to detect the early onset of diseases which may be missed by the human eye. Cancer, for example, is not easily detectable. This includes Brain cancer and ovarian cancer that remain hard to detect until their end stage.
Through AI we can help identify these issues at their early stage and help combat the possible complications it might present in the future. AI may also help us predict the onset of chronic diseases that might bother a patient in the future. For example, someone with a family history of diabetes may be given a preventive plan by the doctor that mentions which foods to avoid and which medicine to take, to prevent the problem of diabetes.
The challenges and concerns
While AI seems to provide a perfect slate to evaluate patient care, it also provides a playground for the big pharmas to play in. Pharmaceutical companies are not shy when it comes to the accumulation of profits. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, Americans spent a whopping 535 billion USD on prescription drugs, observing a 50% increase since 2010.
Big Pharma companies raised the price of insulin to absurd prices for patients with diabetes. Access to insulin, for a Type 1 diabetes patient, is a matter of life and death. The algorithms and patient histories being fed into AI can promote these pharmaceuticals to target individuals with a history of diabetes and give them incorrect dietary recommendations.
If the patients are naïve enough to follow up on these recommendations, then these companies can further increase the rate of insulin, charging obscene prices and accumulating profits. Therefore, there should be transparency when it comes to the distribution and accumulation of data. The networks need to be open sourced for the patients, so that they can help follow-up on their medical records.
AI holds the potential to increase the quality of livelihoods. Through the advancement of technology and transparency, in the processes, human lifestyle can attain levels of self-satisfaction beyond comprehension. While it is important to embrace the benefits it is crucial for healthcare professionals and patients to trudge this (potential) capitalist initiative with precautionary hope.