Public cloud is enabling AI to save lives. Literally.

Public Cloud, AI

Bold title, I know. But I assure you it’s justified.

When I go in to customer meetings, I often talk about how public cloud can increase scalability, enhance productivity and give businesses a competitive edge. But Public cloud has the capability to go way beyond that because cloud is one, if not the, most significant technology enabler of our time.

Cloud is the underlying platform with the data storage capacity and massive processing capability that will help enable AI innovation at the speed demanded. While AI has been around for decades, (certainly the theory has anyway), it has for many years been an intangible, somewhat utopic vision. However, over the last few years, organisations have started to integrate a variety of AI-driven technologies across voice, vision, language and machine learning in order to transform their organisation. In fact, I recently read that in a study by Accenture which revealed 85% of businesses and IT executives anticipate making extensive investments in one or more AI-related technologies over the next three years – not an entirely surprising figure.

In short, AI both simplifies and improves our experiences with technology. Instead of picking up our mobiles to check the weather or making a to-do list, we’re turning to Alexa. Before getting the chance to ask friends what boxsets they recommend, Netflix has already suggested a series we might like watching based on our previous viewing habits. Pretty cool, right? But while this kind of AI technology is really handy and might save us a few minutes here and there - just imagine the potential impact it could have on healthcare.

The other day, I stumbled across a video about the InnerEye research project which is developing machine learning techniques for the automatic delineation of tumors as well as healthy anatomy in 3D radiological images. This is an incredible piece of technology that is enabling clinicians to reduce radiology planning from hours to minutes with increased precision and once radiotherapy is complete, they can use these tools to gain information into how the cancer is responding, which currently, isn’t something they are able to do. In short, the video shows how AI is leading to better treatment and better outcomes for patients (if you’d like to watch the video, which I recommend you do, you can see it here:

Sadly, 1 in 2 of us are likely to develop cancer at some point in our lives, and while this might be a pretty bleak figure, I know I certainly take comfort from seeing how technology is advancing to support well-established healthcare practices.

I started this blog with a bold statement, so I feel it’s only right I leave it on a bold quote.

“…We are pursuing AI so that we can empower every person and every institution that people build with tools of AI so that they can go on to solve the most pressing problems of our society and our economy. That’s the pursuit.”.

Satya Nadella CEO Microsoft, Microsoft IGNITE 2016.


Posted by Paul Shannon