Our previous piece on the future use of Artificial Intelligence ended with the following two paragraphs:
Between now and 2030, governments, health systems, and private companies worldwide must continue working together to ensure AI systems are connected and prevent inequality. As healthcare continues to globalize, so will the need for international standards that protect how AI uses personal data as an urgent priority.
Countries must utilize AI’s power to improve human capabilities, not replace them. At the heart of connected care isn’t new technology; it’s people: the people are the market who drive needs, as are the clinical staff who work so hard to deliver it to all of us.
It Is Happening Right Now
A massive new initiative in England named “Our Future Health” recently started in the UK. The survey will follow the health of all those participating in the initial trials.
The data gathering on the current state of the health of those who take part will follow them over many years. Initially, they will record an individual’s profile from a moderately easy questionnaire. Then, they will have to attend a local mobile clinic where the following will take place:
- Their blood pressure and heart rate will be measured
- Their height, weight, and waist circumference measured
- A small sample of blood taken
- A finger prick test for cholesterol levels
This programme is called “Our Future Health” and is a charity funded partly by the government and other organisations that work in the Health industry, such as Boots the Chemist. The Cambridge East Research Ethics Committee oversees it.
Their stated aim is to involve over five million volunteers and follow them regularly, and they have already had two million volunteers registered.
Currently, only people in some English regions are invited to sign up, but anyone over 18 who lives in the UK can join.
The researchers expect to use the participant’s time and data for free, which will help future generations keep in good health for a longer life. They will use and give out information from and about participants’ DNA and various lifestyle effects. They will also share discoveries on human health and disease.
This will be a long-term research exercise following people as they age so they can look back and find any predictions about diseases and tie this information in with their health records.
Previous studies like this carried out years back in the United States identified many health problems and aided cures, and this will surely do the same.
They intend for this programme to gather as much information as possible about people’s health as they age, and researchers will be able to look back and find the earliest stages of diseases. You could, therefore, be assisting health professionals long after your demise.
When they take your blood, your genetic makeup, or DNA, will be extracted. Within your DNA, some variants identify the differences between the population and check which of you will be helped by any future health advances.
The DNA and blood samples will be stored to aid future research where they can check whether specific biomarkers can be linked to early clues of certain diseases.
This research is undoubtedly a good application of data gathering in artificial intelligence and would enable health professionals to be forewarned and forearmed as the population advances.
This research will be world-leading and a resource for researchers worldwide. It may find large numbers of health-related discoveries, such as:
- New ways to detect earlier than is currently possible will help to develop earlier treatments, screening, and prevention of diseases.
- New ways to predict who is more at risk of diseases would be helped by quicker diagnosis and treatments.
- Personalised treatments could be identified that will delay the onset of diseases, reduce the risks, slow the progression, and assist investigations into how certain conditions affect those of higher risk.