If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Fei-Fei Li heard the crackle of a cat's brain cells a couple of decades ago and has never forgotten it. Researchers had inserted electrodes into the animal's brain and connected them to a loudspeaker, filling a lab at Princeton with the eerie sound of firing neurons. "They played the symphony of a mammalian visual system," she told an audience Monday at Stanford, where she is now a professor. The music of the brain helped convince Li to dedicate herself to studying intelligence--a path that led the physics undergraduate to specializing in artificial intelligence, and helping catalyze the recent flourishing of AI technology and use cases like self-driving cars. These days, though, Li is concerned that the technology she helped bring to prominence may not always make the world better.
At 2 a.m. in February, I found myself speaking with the family of a dying man. We had never met before, and I had only just learned of the patient. As an ICU doctor, I have been in this situation on many occasions, but there was something new this time. The family was 200 miles away, and we were talking through a video camera. I was staffing the electronic intensive care unit, complete with a headset, adjustable two-way video camera, and six screens of streaming data.
A few years ago, on a warm sunny afternoon, my ninety-year-old father-in-law was sweeping his patio when he suddenly felt weak and dizzy. Falling to his knees, he crawled inside his condo and onto the couch. He was shaking but not confused when my wife, Susan, came over minutes later, since we lived just a block away. She texted me at work, where I was just finishing my clinic, and asked me to come over. When I got there, he was weak and couldn't stand up on his own, and it was unclear what had caused this spell.
Los Angeles medical center Cedars-Sinai is currently piloting a program that places Amazon Echos in more than 100 patient rooms. The smart speakers use Aiva, a voice assistant platform for healthcare, and is intended to help patients communicate with their caregivers. Letting patients use Alexa to perform basic tasks like changing TV channels also frees up nurses to perform medical care. Backed by Amazon's Alexa Fund and the Google Assistant Investment Program, Aiva also participated in the Cedars-Sina accelerator program for healthcare startups. The platform also works with Google Home.
Cedars-Sinai is making some of its hospital rooms a little more like home for patients with the help of Amazon Alexa. The Los Angeles hospital on Monday said it's piloting a system called Avia, which it calls "the world's first patient-centered voice assistant platform for hospitals." As part of the pilot, Cedars-Sinai has equipped more than 100 rooms with Amazon Echo smart speakers so patients can use Alexa to control the TV or summon a nurse with just the sound of their voice. Patients in these "smart hospital rooms" can say things like "Alexa, change the channel to ESPN" when they want to watch sports on TV or "Alexa, tell my nurse I need to use the restroom" when they need assistance getting out of bed. Healthcare requests are sent to the appropriate person's mobile phone--whether that be a caregiver, nurse, clinical partner, manager, or administrator.
Over 100 patients staying at Cedars-Sinai can now ask Alexa to control their TVs and call their nurses for them. The hospital has launched a pilot program to test an Alexa-powered healthcare platform called "Aiva," putting Echo speakers in over a hundred hospital rooms. According to Cedars-Sinai, Aiva is the "the world's first patient-centered voice assistant platform for hospitals." Patients can use it to call for help when needed, especially if they're not mobile and unable to use their hands. For instance, they can say: "Alexa, tell my nurse I need to get up to use the restroom."
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a generic phrase used to describe computer systems that can analyze their environment. These systems can learn and act in reaction to what they are recognizing. It is predicted that 20% of healthcare organizations will experience 15-20% productivity gains by 2021 through the use of AI technologies. Machine intelligence has a beneficial effect on the healthcare workforce, not by replacing jobs, but by acting as a co-pilot in treatment and routine processes. AI is an indispensable assistant to verify patient insurance or improve clinical documentation.
It's not quite the question one expected during the Q&A session at the end of the 2019 BCS Turing Talk on Artificial Intelligence. The event was held earlier this week at the swanky IET building in London's Savoy Place and the audience comprised academics, developers and tech professionals. You'd think such an interjection was akin to someone grabbing the microphone in the main auditorium during a cryptocurrency conference and blurting "So… there aren't any actual coins?" Surely this was a cue for the auditorium to resound with an unpleasant cacophony of forehead-slapping and eye-rolling. And let me tell you, the ugly wet sound of hundreds of people rolling their eyes at the same time is the stuff of Japanese body horror nightmares.
If you're not a member of the healthcare community, then you might not be aware of a quiet crisis creeping up on hospitals all over the country: not enough nurses and too many patients. This trend is partially fueled by the Baby Boomers who are reaching old age. Baby Boomer nurses are beginning to retire, leaving a shortfall of skilled and experienced healthcare providers. The Boomer generation as a whole requires more medical care as they enter their 60s and 70s. Complex problems like the nursing shortage require creative solutions.
Slowly and silently, they glide across the floor wearing bright yellow dresses that look like they were plucked from a haunted 1920s boarding school. No, you haven't encountered some Mothman-like terror entombed inside a department store mannequin, the byproduct of a twisted, futuristic fever dream. You've merely stepped inside Mongkutwattana General Hospital in Bangkok, where a team of robot nurses has been unleashed to make life easier. Their job: ferrying documents between eight stations inside the health-care facility, a job that used to be carried out busy human nurses, hospital director Reintong Nanna told Newsflare last year. "These robotic nurses help to improve the efficiency and performance of working in the hospital," he said.