In my May 31, 2023 blog, I talked about the crisis in our health care system and I proposed a handful of quick fixes.
Today, I want to take out my crystal ball and offer a number of predictions on the positive impact technology will soon have on health care. I am quite confident these innovations will be achieved within the next five years.
Before I list my predictions, let me once again say how in awe I am about ChatGPT and other forms of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). The lightening speed at which the field is advancing since the release of ChatGPT-4 in March 2023 and what the experts are all telling us about the future are truly awe-inspiring. We are at the dawn of a new era unlike any era before.
Here are my predictions on how technology will soon improve our health and dramatically reduce health care costs:
- Number one will be a microchip implanted into our bloodstreams. This chip will be able to constantly monitor our blood and will have a microscopic transmitter to then wirelessly communicate information on what it measures. Gone forever will be the need for laboratory blood tests.Separate and apart from the enormous cost savings that our health care system will realize as a result, we will be alerted immediately when something is amiss. No longer will we have to wait for symptoms to manifest. This in turn will reduce treatment costs and improve health outcomes. Waiting until symptoms manifest can too often mean that their cause is no longer treatable.
- Number two will be AGI software that analyzes medical images — x-rays, CAT scans, and MRI scans. Current controlled trials are already showing that AGI can interpret images more accurately than do radiologists. Canadians needing timely medical imaging currently face backlogs due to staff and equipment shortages. Incorporating AGI imaging tools across the health care system will speed up access, save lives, produce cost savings, and will free radiologists from routine work to address more complex cases.
- The third innovation will see AGI replace at least one function regularly performed by dermatologists. Rapid progress in this field is seeing software developed that can analyze suspicious areas of the skin and is proving more accurate than seasoned, well-trained dermatologists at identifying skin cancers. Before long, you will take a picture of your skin concern from the comfort of your own home and, with no cost to the health care system, have the picture analyzed by software, with results then shared with medical practitioners for follow up when necessary. Bottom line, significant savings to our health care system and much earlier identification of skin cancers, thus saving countless lives.
- The fourth innovation will see AGI ‘smart toilets’ used to monitor and analyze our bodily waste. Much can be discovered from our bodily waste. For instance, blood in the stool may indicate colon cancer. The sooner colon cancer is identified and treated, the greater the likelihood it can be successfully treated. Changes to an individual’s urine can indicate diabetes. You get the idea. Within no more than a few years, smart toilets will have the ability to analyze our waste at an even more sophisticated level than do current laboratories. And they will do it every day, leading to faster diagnosis of problems, saving our health care system yet again enormous sums of money, and extending life expectancy.
- The fifth innovation will build on the fact that most of us already use “Doctor Google” to some degree, usually with mixed results. AGI will be order of magnitude better in working with healthcare professionals to determine a diagnosis and manage treatment. No need to type in search terms and then spend countless hours reading all of the articles listed by Google. Instead, you will simply describe your symptoms to your AGI software. “It” will know what questions to ask. A real time conversation will then take place. Medical records are already routinely stored electronically, accessible to family doctors and all other medical professionals. AGI systems will have access to these same records, able to draw upon your complete medical history and the results from the innovations outlined above.
By the end of this comprehensive assessment, “It” will have made a diagnosis, every bit as accurate as if you had consulted a live doctor, and will make recommendations for next steps and send reports to relevant medical professionals. When applicable, “It” will be able to send prescription(s) to your drug store where the drug store’s automated system will fill the prescription and text you when it’s available for pick up.
And I have not even mentioned that AGI is likely to find cures for almost all of humankind’s diseases within the next ten years. Its brute force and sheer power in quickly analyzing massive amounts of data will enable it to discover in a few weeks what would take scientists on their own many years to establish.
Experts do worry about potential risks from the rapid development of artificial intelligence, and it will be crucial for humans to ensure that abuse is prevented by international cooperation and regulation. Models to be considered could include the International Atomic Energy Agency, which works internationally promoting the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technologies and guarding against nuclear proliferation to keep us safe from nuclear terrorists.
If we take proper care, AGI can and will have the most profoundly positive impact on humanity’s quality of life.
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (June 21, 2023): 423.64ppm
One year ago (June 21, 2022): 420.91ppm
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