Artificial intelligence, known as AI, is simply the next step of automation. AI is everywhere. Virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri are already with us. Trials are on for driverless cars and "companion" robots that ‘care’ for the elderly and it should not be a surprise if they become commonplace soon.
Living independently with an AI powered robot/assistant, post retirement, is a sensible option for adults post-retirement, as opposed to living with hired help. The most obvious benefit is a drastically minimized threat to one’s security.
Another advantage of AI is that it records patterns, events, accidents, medicines, etc. for easy retrieval. With humans, there is much more room for error; facts or important instructions could be forgotten, or a medicine reminder could be missed occasionally.
AI can be used in healthcare on a smaller scale in other ways too, not only as a robot assisting someone to live.
In a recent clinical trial, a patient with early onset of hypertension was linked with an AI interface that constantly monitored his vitals and physical activity, and reminded him about his medicines. The patient knew the precautions (workout and medication) he needed to take before the trial, but could never manage to adhere to them. Once linked to the AI interface through his Apple watch, he received constant reminders to take his medicines, do his workouts, follow a healthy diet, etc. Moreover, his vitals were constantly monitored. His doctors would receive the status report through the interface every week and his course of treatment was being monitored and reviewed. Eventually, due to help from the AI, the patient started taking his medicines regularly, ate healthy and worked out at least thrice a week, leading to better health and a healthier lifestyle for the future.
AI could play a major role in cancer care as well by monitoring the growth of a tumor and bridging the time gap between a scan and a doctor’s consultation.
The only catch is how data intensive can AI be? Technologies like machine learning and AI can significantly accelerate the adoption and growth of a data-intensive practice, such as precision medicine, but complex legal, social and ethical concerns have to be addressed before their full potential can be harnessed effectively. A shift from a traditional one-size-fits-all model to a more intelligent, personalized and data-driven approach to medical care can offer tremendous benefits in terms of healthcare costs and quality of outcomes.