Amazon Echo and Alexa – Bringing AI to every home?

Disclaimer: this is not intended to an advertisement of the product Amazon Alexa, in any way.

I’m going to write a a few words about the product (which I have yet to put my hands on myself).

 

 

What fascinates me the most is actually that Amazon has packaged a long list of simple use-cases ranging from playing music to answering questions (and this is where the AI gets interesting that it needs to understand the question no matter how its phrased, research the topic and answer the question in a summarised form – as if it “understands” the topic in question – whether the topic is “the philosophy of Sufism” or finding the number of accidents in Stockholm during 2015).

What’s brilliant about it is that its put no focus the technical aspect of Artificial Intelligence and, much like Siri on the iPhone (and Apple philosophy in general) focus on creating a good user experience where is super easy to use the product or service.

I personally see myself getting entertained by its jokes, using it to put tasks on my todo list (and remind me when I have deadlines)!

Expect more of these services to bubble up even by startups and other players in the field though I think Amazon due to their first mover advantage (much like Amazon Web Services which is used by giants like Netflix etc) might have a competitive edge here.

Leukemia patient finally gets diagnose: not by doctors but by Watson

 

Artificial Intelligence Used To Detect Rare Leukemia Type In Japan Japanese doctors have for the first time used artificial intelligence (AI) to detect a type of leukemia, which helped to save a patient’s life as the disease had gone undetected using conventional methods.” itemprop=”description

 

While I think it would be making far-fetched statements to say that doctors risk their jobs (because they don’t in the coming 5-10 years) we need to start getting used to the idea of not just turning to other professional physicians for second opinion- but rather turn to more AI (and big-data based) solutions, especially for rarer conditions.

Some time back I was featured in the Swedish national Dagens Nyheter where I described just this; how we ought to embrace this opportunity to improve the care we give patients and this possibility of diagnosing patients faster and reducing the amount of incorrect treatments given. This would not just save costs and create more opportunities to treat more patients in the developer would but also reduce suffering (and incorrect medication) provided to patients. I think this is a candid example how medical staff (who is essential part of quality assuring and ensuring that patients get the care they deserve) work together with technology to provide world class diagnosis and treatments.

Hopefully the technology will also allow individuals who haven’t had to spend 5-7 years in med school to assist patients in in rural areas with a lower density of physicians (and where access to medical staff and diagnostic equipment is scarcer).

Mobile Endoscopy is here!

Endoscopes are cameras, connected to a cable, which are inserted into an area otherwise not visible by the eye. They have been used for a while for plumbing purposes, but are most commonly used in medical contexts (to view the tissue in the throat (oesophagus), the GI-tract (intestines etc) to detect changes such as cancers or other conditions causing symptoms in patients.

I’m a huge follower of how technology is becoming smaller, cheaper and faster. In this case we can see that Endoscopes have been developed that can be connected to your smartphone:

Endoscope connected to an android phone

 

The possibilities this brings along are enormous: suddenly a physician working in a remote part of the country is able to bring along the Endoscope to diagnose/investigate patients in parts where these devices weren’t available. This device costs less than $20! Yes, while it is true that it is probably not approved for medical purposes yet – it’s only a question when these devices DO become much more readily available for clinical use in those settings. At such a low price we are able to ensure that medicine and the right to medical treatments becomes truly democratised and where we CAN live up to make it a human right that every individual has a right (and affordability) to obtain.

Marocko leads the way for solar

We all know that the Earth, every second, has more solar energy entering the atmosphere than the energy the entire world’s population uses each year…

Marocko is leading the development of using this undisputed clean energy source to not only provide for its own population but also gazing ahead to days when they can export the clean energy to Europe. This is totally different from status quo where majority of the energy supply to the country comes from fossil fuel from Spain.

This is truly leading the way..

 

 

 

Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project | Environment | The Guardian World’s largest concentrated solar power plant complex, powered by the Saharan sun, set to help renewables provide almost half the country’s energy by 2020

 

Digitalisation of Future Crimes

As the world is heading towards cashless transactions and increased use of digital payment methods this is also raising the bar for how merchants, shops and institutions handle these payment methods.

 

Media outlets are reporting that the fraudulent credit card industry to turn over over a staggering 40 billion dollars annually.

When the penalties for credit card fraud is less than of traditional robbery and the price of getting access to personal details leaked in the EBay hacks is less than 10 Usd it’s time to turn towards:

  1. Modernising the legal framework surrounding cyber crime
  2. Working towards increased awareness in cyber security and actively implement secure payment systems.

 

 

What could eBay hackers do with your data (…and why your personal info is more valuable to fraudsters than your credit card details) | This is Money The personal details of 15 million users in the UK have been compromised following the data hack, which was several months ago but revealed just this week.

 

 

 

Ditt kontokort kan vara till salu – di.se Att köpa dina kontouppgifter är “lika lätt som att handla mat på nätet”, enligt Intel Security. Trots att kostnaden för ditt kort är några hundralappar omsätter marknaden över 3 700 miljarder. Siffrorna är skrämmande, enligt polisen.

 

Using computer games to combat cancer

I find it incredibly fascinating how we can use non-medical ways of treating severe medical conditions like cancers. This game Re:mission allows kids (impact is primarily measured on children) to play a game where they basically defeat cancer-cells through an animated video game. What’s amazing about it is that it:

  1. Allows the patients to understand their condition better
  2. Gives a sense of empowerment that they CAN in fact defeat it
  3. Point 2 above results in the patients becoming more motivated to fulfill their treatment and be more consistent in taking the medicine

 

This says that gamification has a lot of potential in the sector. This game is aimed towards cancer-patients. What about other diseases such as diabetes/cardiovascular diseases – to encourage healthier lifestyle and sustained medication? What about Alzheimers disease and slowing/stopping cognitive decline?

Super exciting area with lots of potential

 

 

Video game aims to help young cancer patients – CNN.com In the battle against cancer, one video game is taking the deadly disease head-on. And some young patients are the winners.” name=”description

 

 

 

 

Nya dataspelet Re-Mission 2 är läkarnas nya vapen för att hjälpa barn med cancer | Digitala livet | Partner studio | Aftonbladet

Spränger cellerna i bitar – för att vinna mot sin egen sjukdom

SAN FRANCISCO. Nate Dennis-Benford, 17, tänker vinna mot sin cancer. Hans inspiration: Ett datorspel som spränger cancerceller i luften. – Jag är sjutton år och oövervinnerlig. Klart jag kommer klå min cancer.

 

When autonomous vehicles become projectiles

Some time back I made a post on cyber security and the need to project our systems of malicious attacks from hackers. I can now report the hackers have found a vulnerability allowing them to take control over, among others, certain car models by Fiat Chrysler:

 

Car hacking risk may be broader than Fiat Chrysler: U.S. regulator | Reuters The cybersecurity issues that led Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to recall 1.4 million vehicles this month could pose a problem for cars and trucks from other automakers, the top U.S. auto safety

 

And it’s not just Fiat Chrysler who have been using these systems – supplied by an third party – which means that other cars are affected as well (apart from the staggering 1.4 million vehicles Fiat has had to recall).

This shows that these are risks the manufacturer’s need to take very very seriously for both economic reasons as well as security reasons. Imagine the day malicious hackers decide to hijack x amount of vehicles and crash them into system critical institutions (parliament, hospitals, banks and schools – or even worse into public gatherings).

Although the technology itself is fantastic: it’ll probably result in fewer accidents (fewer incidents of drink and drive), enable independent transportation for blind people, improve productivity for those who (like myself) would love to work while being transported, the technology like anything comes with a bunch of risks. These need to be seriously addressed before we fully allow them to be driven fully autonomously.

Allowing AI to autonomously control weapon systems is madness

Not too long ago I made a post in  against certain governments wanting to allow automated robots to pull the trigger in weapon systems.

 

UK opposes international ban on developing ‘killer robots’ | Politics | The Guardian Activists urge bar on weapons that launch attacks without human intervention as UN discusses future of autonomous weapons

 

 

Although the benefits of such a system are obvious: not needing to injure your own forces, a higher capacity and effect on the battle field – the disadvantages are truly worrying. Not only do we have risks for bugs – or false positives (where it shoots first and it later turns out to be a civilian casualty) but there’s also the question of liability for these mistakes. We also have the very real existential threat which many technical innovators are warning for:

 

 

Hawking, Musk Warn Of ‘Virtually Inevitable’ AI Arms Race | TechCrunch Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and over 1,000 AI and robotics researchers have signed a letter suggesting a ban on AI warfare, warning of the potential for..

 

Every loss of life needs to come as a conscious decision where somebody is pulling the trigger. Leaving it to machines which (at least the coming ten years) have little assessment of the consequences should not be an option!

 

Further reading:

 

 

UN urged to ban ‘killer robots’ before they can be developed | Science | The Guardian Fully autonomous weapons should be banned by international treaty, says a report by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School

 

Robotic Medical Delivery Systems

A hospital in Denmark is launching innovative delivery systems of medicine for patients. The robots, which will be equipped with sensors to avoid collisions with others in the corridors will also be able to travel in the lifts and will to begin with be in charge of delivering internal post at the hospital. Cool stuff! Maybe this can result in nurses being able to spend more time with patients and less time delivering goods and drugs (and hopefully documenting) – when the robotic systems do it for them!

 

 

di.se – Sjukhuset där robotar levererar piller Det danska sjukhuset Herlev Hospital byggs ut för 2,8 miljarder kronor och tar klivet in i framtiden. Efter upprustningen kommer nämligen ett antal robotar att leverera allt från medicin till sängkläder. Det skriver News Øresund.

 

Technological Development also means a lot of risks

The way forward in medical systems is obviously to digitalise the medical records. This is an approach hospitals in developing countries are taking (in favour of/ as complement to paper records). This comes as a result of being able to preserve it remotely (in case of fire), sharing it with other medical institutes as required when treating patients. But having medical systems digitalised also put a lot more challenges in terms of keeping the patient integrity and confidentiality as this poses risks to these leaking. This can be seen from medical institutes in Sweden and US being attached with the aim of obtaining confidential information about patients:

Unauthorised able to read Patient Medical Records (NyTeknik: Sweden/Swedish)

 

Obehöriga kunde läsa patientjournaler – NyTeknik Obehörig personal har kunnat läsa patientjournaler på Karolinska sjukhuset. Nu ska Datainspektionen för första gången undersöka situationen i de övriga 20 landstingen.

 

 

Escalating Cyberattacks Threaten US Healthcare Systems Electronic health records are prime targets because healthcare organizations lack the resources, processes, and technologies to protect them. And it’s only going to get worse.

 

 

Future of technology has a lot of potential to unlock but also pose a significant amount of risks which need to be mitigated and handled.