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Images from an MRI scan

Sitting, tablet in hand, I’m playing a weird kind of cognitive video game.

Split-second images flash in front of me, and I’m supposed to indicate with my thumbs whether I’d seen an animal or something else. It’s fun, and over in just 60 seconds. But there’s a serious intention here.

“It’s a kind of early warning system for cognitive impairment,” says Dr Thomas Sawyer. He is the chief operating officer of Cognitivity Neurosciences, the Anglo-Canadian firm that developed the app.

“The tool solves a global problem. Early impairment is just not detected. This could have a huge impact on outcomes for patients, and healthcare systems, because late diagnosis costs trillions of dollars every year in global healthcare.”

Designed as a simple, quick, and easy test to spot the earliest signs of dementia, the app’s algorithms are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) – software that can “learn” and adapt by itself.

They can automatically detect if a person has some signs of slow reaction, or poor visual recognition skills, irrespective of the language they speak.

Source: BBC Business News
Date: Sept 2nd, 2021
Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57817804

Discussion

  1. The article suggests that making advances in health requires large amounts of very specific patient data, which then means that patient’s data use and mis-use is a problem. How can these two objectives (health care improvements and patient data privacy) be reconciled?
  2. Why are companies and governments so apt to want to track citizens so closely?

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