SXSW 2017 – The Future Through the Healthcare Lens
Artificial intelligence, gene sequencing, and virtual reality were among the hottest topics at this year’s SXSW. Although these topics are not new, the technologies driving them are advancing at an alarming pace, making them near-future disruptors and therefore some of the most talked about topics at this year’s conference. We are going to reflect on these innovations through the lens of healthcare:
Technology is transforming healthcare
With over 70 health and wellness related sessions, healthcare was unsurprisingly one of the most talked about topics. The reason for its prevalence is due to all the potential real-world applications and solutions that can be derived from the advent of new technologies. Breakthroughs in data collection, research, robotics and treatments are sparking the conversation on how medical providers could use new advancements to create new tools and find fresh and innovative ways to practice medicine into the future. The hospital of the future could very likely be very different than the hospital of today.
AI is the future
The one technology to really know about while at SXSW 2017, was artificial intelligence (AI). Its introduction into society is beginning to underpin everything we do – from Siri (or Alexa or Cortana or Echo) to autonomous Uber vehicles. As artificial intelligence improves it is likely to become the worlds greatest solution and single biggest disruptor. Within healthcare the possibilities are also endless, however, not without controversy on issues surrounding trustworthiness and at-fault liability. After all, would patients be able to trust an AI doctor more than they trust a human doctor?
Virtual reality is not just for gaming
VR was another buzzword in Austin’s SXSW 2017. The game industry popularized VR by putting it within most people’s reach, whether it is via a gaming console, a computer or a mobile device. Its widespread adoption is paving the way for its implementation within healthcare. For example, VR technologies such as CGI and HD Film are helping PTSD patients overcome their disorders by placing them in a virtual environment where by therapists can control their exposure to stress factors.
Gene editing will revolutionize medicine
Gene editing, as its name suggests, is a method that enables researchers to precisely add, delete or replace specific portions of our genetic code. Its innovation has many potential applications in medicine. For example, it can be used to correct diseases and disorders that have a genetic basis. It could also be used to change a less desirable form of a gene to a more desirable one. In addition, genome sequencing will allow for the treatment of multi-factorial DNA mutations such as cancer, diabetes, and obesity.