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💕The impact of great experience | 💥 Healthcare AI hits a bump

This week's focus is on how we experience and use technology, its pervasiveness today and how we got
💕The impact of great experience | 💥 Healthcare AI hits a bump
By Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani) • Issue #25 • View online
This week’s focus is on how we experience and use technology, its pervasiveness today and how we got there before looking at the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare.
As ever, if you have thoughts or comments (nice, not so nice or otherwise), just reply, tweet or whatever.

Times have changed. Thank goodness.
The experience of using a computer today is vastly different from the experience even a decade ago on mobile and vastly different again to a decade before on the desktop. This was not due to a lack of computer power, though of course that has helped. It was down to how software design has evolved dramatically as each year passed.
It is ten years since the iPhone launched and clearly it transformed the mobile industry through a better user experience. It changed the way we use phones today. I’m not sure we should be even calling them phones anymore looking at the chart below.
It was also a silver bullet aimed at Google’s heart though no one knew it at the time. People used apps on the phone to get to where they wanted to, no longer was Google the gateway to the Internet. It remains so on the desktop, but all the growth in Internet usage today is coming from mobile. Read more about how the iPhone transformed the mobile industry here.
Another company that recently broke through a big milestone was Facebook. It now has 2 billion active users around the world, five years after breaking 1 billion. There are a few astonishing things to take account of here. First is that unlike a lot of companies, the numbers are not completely (!) fictitious. They don’t count the number of people who created a Facebook account prior to the last 30 days and then never logged in again - it is everyone who has been to the website or app at least once in the past month. The second is that somehow Facebook has managed to keep growing its user base at a decent pace, whilst pretty much everyone else has faltered.
How do you do that? Well one way is to make it as easy as possible to sign up. How many times have you gone to buy something and you have to go through step after step to get to the checkout. Every additional step or even every additional piece of information you ask for leads to a reduction in people signing up. 
Facebook, in the early days, had 5 screens of questions before you could get an account and was not even on the front page you had to click a link to even get started. Today its right there on the front page one step and 7 pieces of information. 
Read more on Facebook’s journey to 2 billion and how they have adapted and transformed the company to get there here.
AI almost owns the world.
I remain of the view that we are still in the relative Middle Ages when it comes to healthcare. It is not helped by failed IT projects and the poor infrastructure within the NHS, which recently led to systems being compromised by software requiring a ransom to be paid. 
Every week there are 5 million GP consultations with data held for each one of them, so I was rather positive about the news that DeepMind (a Cambridge based AI business now owned by Google) had been given access to the data. The press obviously had a field day with it, complete with suitable big brother imagery. Though once you read the small print, other than the Google connection, there didn’t seem to be much difference to other data sharing agreements though the scale seems to be larger.
Fast forward a few years and its clear DeepMind was having to learn quickly about working with the NHS and patient data for the first time. They were clearly aware of this - it was difficult not to be given the press backlash. Since that first deal, they set up an independent panel to look at their NHS work and improved approaches with new NHS deals. That hasn’t stopped the Information Commissioner’s Office from stating the original deal broke the law and showing how they went wrong. For all this though, two years later and the results seem to be rather small in scale. The ambition seems to remain though so hopefully the next few years will see some breakthroughs.
Meanwhile, IBM’s Watson juggernaut, which also has a health group is suffering from its own hype and progressing much slower than hoped as well. The challenge like with all things related to machine learning is with the data. 
Until you have enough examples of situations and its associated result, AI systems cannot learn quickly enough. To IBM’s credit, it has been very focused on building data partnerships with companies to ingest as much data as possible but it all takes much longer than I think even IBM anticipated. This article by MIT Technology Review does a great job of painting a picture of AI and how it works in straightforward language through the lens of health. Worth  a read.
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Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani)

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