Book Image

Live Longer with AI

By : Tina Woods
Book Image

Live Longer with AI

By: Tina Woods

Overview of this book

Live Longer with AI examines how the latest cutting-edge developments are helping us to live longer, healthier and better too. It compels us to stop thinking that health is about treating disease and start regarding it as our greatest personal and societal asset to protect. The book discusses the impact that AI has on understanding the cellular basis of aging and how our genes are influenced by our environment – with the pandemic highlighting the interconnectedness of human and planetary health. Author Tina Woods, founder and CEO of Collider Health and Collider Science, and the co-founder of Longevity International, has curated a panel of deeply insightful interviews with some of today’s brightest and most innovative thought leaders at the crossroads of health, technology and society. Read what leading experts in health and technology are saying about the book: "This is a handbook for the revolution!" —Sir Muir Gray, Director, Optimal Ageing "You can live longer and be happier if you make some changes – that is the theme of this book. Well-written and compelling." —Ben Page, CEO, Ipsos Mori "Tina's book is a must-read for those who want to discover the future of health." —José Luis Cordeiro, Fellow, World Academy of Art & Science; Director, The Millennium Project; Vice Chair, Humanity Plus; Co- Author of The Death of Death About the consultant editor Melissa Ream is a leading health and care strategist in the UK, leveraging user-driven design and artificial intelligence to design systems and support people to live healthier, longer lives.
Table of Contents (8 chapters)

The Big Tech takeover of our health

Leading tech futurist Peter Diamandis[17] predicts Apple and Amazon will come up with a service where a person pays a company to keep them healthy, rather than to cover the cost of illness, based on their health history and daily activities. This approach makes so much sense. This is where China and other Asian countries are ahead of the game: the basic philosophy of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for over 3,000 years is that prevention of disease and maintenance of health is the main priority of doctors. The doctor is paid a retainer to keep their patients healthy.

But do we want Big Tech to "take over" our health? As the use of technology in our lives becomes more widespread, social, legal, and ethical issues will grow in importance[18].

Amy Webb, professor of strategic foresight[47] at New York University's Stern School of Business, warns of scenarios in the future when Amazon, Google, and Apple could run our households, as well as our health. One day, smart refrigerators, for example, could be calling you out for snacking between meals and smart garages could start telling you to walk to work on a sunny day!

Amazon has big plans in healthcare with Alexa, which is already helping people with dementia in their homes to live independently for longer. The company has also launched its own health clinic[19] for employees, a program called Amazon Care that provides virtual and in-person urgent care, preventative care, and medication delivery for Amazon employees enrolled in its Amazon insurance plan. Amazon is also working on a health project with JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway called Haven[20].

Amazon has also been active in its response to the pandemic, from prioritizing delivery for high-need items to launching a $20 million AWS Diagnostics initiative. Amazon Care also announced a partnership with the Gates Foundation-sponsored Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network to deliver home testing kits for coronavirus in Seattle.

Just recently, Amazon announced it is getting into the health gadget market with a new fitness band and subscription service called Halo[48]. Unlike the Apple Watch or basic Fitbits, the Halo Band doesn’t have a screen but comes with an app with standard fitness tracking functionality but also two novel (some would say disturbing) features: creating 3D scans of your body fat and listening to the emotion in your voice.

Google is active in health and healthcare through the Alphabet company Verily[21] and its Google Fit ecosystem for wearables[22]. One of its most notable commercial activities has been the recent $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit.

Google's core expertise in search is being applied to make it easier for doctors to search medical records, and to improve the quality of health-related search results for consumers across Google and YouTube.

On the technological side, some of Google's innovations are mind-blowing. DeepMind recently announced a new deep learning tool called AlphaFold[23], which can predict the innumerable ways in which various proteins fold by analyzing their amino acid sequences. The ability to predict a protein's shape is useful to scientists because it is fundamental to understanding its role within the body, as well as diagnosing and treating diseases believed to be caused by misfolded proteins, such as Alzheimer's[24], Parkinson's[25], Huntington's[26], and cystic fibrosis[27]. Understanding protein folding using tools like AlphaFold will aid drug discovery to fight today's most intractable diseases, including COVID-19.

Apple is getting into healthcare through its on-site employee medical clinics, Apple HealthKit, and Apple Watch. It is putting its efforts into harnessing the value of lifestyle data to help understand what keeps us healthy and develop the technologies to keep us well.

Some interesting Big Tech partnerships have formed in response to COVID-19. For example, Apple and Google announced in April 2020 that they are partnering to develop and deploy an automatic, anonymous, Bluetooth-based contact tracing technology for COVID-19, which is now being used in many countries, including the US and parts of Europe.

Big Tech companies can easily build risk profiles based on all the metadata they have. Apple and Amazon can already see what we buy, how active we are, and what we eat via Apple Pay, Apple Watch, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods. But Big Tech still can't really learn the same way humans learn. Our intelligence is still greater than theirs, but maybe not for long.

In July 2019, Microsoft invested $1 billion[28] in the Elon Musk-founded AI venture OpenAI, helping toward its efforts to build artificial general intelligence (AGI) that can rival and surpass the cognitive capabilities of humans. OpenAI's mission is to ensure that AGI—which they mean as, highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work—benefits all of humanity. In its charter, the venture states that it will actively cooperate with other research and policy institutions to create a global community working together to address AGI's global challenges. In an open letter, it said: "We cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable."

Once AI can learn and solve problems in similar ways to humans, it throws up more questions than answers in fundamental areas, and especially ethics.

In his book Superintelligence, Professor Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, analyzes the steps needed to develop superintelligence, and the ways in which humanity may or may not be able to control what emerges, along with the kind of ethical thinking that is needed. Bostrom suggests[29] that creating AI to understand human values is essential to ensuring we will be safe. But inputting individual lines of code to teach a superintelligent robot what humans care about would be a nearly impossible task due to the complexity of human emotions and cultural differences.

Cultural differences are at the heart of how AI is being developed around the world, and the starkest differences are between China and the US, which are both on a quest to lead the world in AI.