AI and Robotics Join Forces to Revolutionize Health Care

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AI and Robotics Join Forces to Revolutionize Health Care

Health care is one sector of the economy where the second wave of the Fifth Techno-Economic revolution will make an especially deep impact on the lives of almost every human being. 

Price Waterhouse Coopers, or PWC, recently identified five converging trends leading to an era in which AI and robotics will dominate health care.

First and foremost is the escalating health care value challenge that all countries across the globe face.  It involves demands created by chronic disease, rising costs, an aging population and limited financial & human resources.  Ironically, our economies are continuing to invest in facilities and equipment that were built to address a completely different set of healthcare needs and are not designed to cope with the new demand profile.  For instance, a “hospital-centric system” deals very well with serious health episodes that require days or weeks of acute care for very ill people.  But it was never intended to deal with large numbers of people whose conditions are chronic, complex and require treatment for the longer term.

Second, the past decade has seen an explosion in the amount of health data that is available to us. For example, for a skin specialist there are 11,000 new dermatology articles published every year.  In 2013, it was estimated that the volume of health-related data had reached over four zettabytes; that’s four trillion gigabytes (or 1021 bytes).  And there are those who project it will rise by a factor of ten times by 2020, and, to beyond a yottabyte (or 1024 bytes) by 20401. Furthermore, fully 80% of this extraordinary amount of data is unstructured2, meaning that it’s not contained in a database or some other type of data structure.  Staying current with and being able to access this data is simply beyond the scope of any human individual, no matter how capable or intelligent.

Third, information technology development in healthcare has been rapidly moving from products to platforms to solutions (Frost & Sullivan, 2016). Past decades have focused on the innovation provided by medical products delivering evidence-based care. The present decade is one of medical platforms focused on real-time, outcome-based care. And the next decade is moving towards medical solutions – using AI and robotics, as well as virtual and augmented reality – to deliver intelligent solutions for both evidence-based and outcome-based health care and focusing on collaborative, preventative care...

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