According to Microsoft chief technology officer (CTO) Kevin Scott, biometric smart rings being worn by healthcare workers at a San Francisco hospital are an example of the sort of benefits we could expect if more funding went into artificial intelligence (AI) technology as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Scott, who has a new book about AI coming out this week, argues that investing in the technology could reap major benefits for an American healthcare system that is taking a beating due to the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country.
Speaking with The Seattle Times, he compares this investment in AI and the benefits it would bring to another period of rapid technological change in recent history.
“I think our reaction to this horrible pandemic we’re having now could produce a wave of investment and innovation in biotechnology that defines the next 75 years,” he said. “The way that the industrialization of the modern world post-World War II has defined the past 75 years.”
One example he gives of a current benefit of this investment are biometric smart rings that healthcare workers at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital wear to monitor their heart-rate data, body temperature, and blood oxygen saturation as a way of predicting the early onset of COVID-19.
“So, if you just imagine what would happen to a world where, for this whole range of conditions you’d have a combination of cheap, wearable biometric sensing … that really could just fundamentally change the cost of health care and the general wellness of people that would have access to these technologies,” said Scott.
The use of AI and biometric technology in healthcare has grown steadily over the past year, crossing further over into the mainstream consumer market as companies like Apple invest more into the healthcare capabilities of their wearables.
Source: The Seattle Times
April 7, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis