Microsoft genomics director: The future of healthcare depends on AI

Andrea Park - Print  | 

Artificial intelligence could solve healthcare's biggest challenges, but not without swift action from leaders in healthcare, technology and regulatory bodies to ensure AI is not just effective, but safe and equitable for all, according to Microsoft's Geralyn Miller.

In an op-ed for Time, Ms. Miller, director of genomics within Microsoft's AI and research division, wrote that AI could incite "radical change" in healthcare, with the ability to shift focus from treating to preventing disease, continuously monitor health and reduce clinician burnout.

While the technology to do much of this work already exists, she explained, a "social transformation" is needed to support the ongoing digital transformation. That will include, among many other changes: comprehensive policies and governance for AI and data use, cross-industry collaboration, investment in the creation and collection of data and new methods to ensure equal access to and allocation of tech resources.

Diversity may be most crucial of all to enabling AI to revolutionize healthcare. "To be truly successful with AI, we will need to overlook the things that historically set us apart, like race, gender, age, language, culture, socioeconomic status and domain expertise. Given that history, it won't be easy," Ms. Miller wrote. "But if we want the full potential of AI to be brought to bear on solving the urgent needs in global healthcare, we must make it happen."

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