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SXSW Moments: Intelligent Health

The Forrest Four-Cast, July 16, 2019

Did you miss something at SXSW 2019? Want to relive the magic? Look to this space over the coming weeks for links to video and audio replays of some of the most incredible experiences from this year’s event.

A speech-generation system powered by brain activity. Predicting suicide attempts. Using Big Data to evaluate treatment outcomes. The health sector is only just beginning to grapple with the potential, and the potential pitfalls, of AI. SXSW 2019 featured some incredible panels on they way AI is reshaping healthcare.

Tumors, Transplants and Technology: AI for Life
A young mother in need of an urgent kidney transplant to save her life, a father willing to donate. The story could end there. Except that the kidney due to be transplanted had a tumor. That, along with the recipient’s severe health complications, meant that her only hope was a waiting game via a cadaver donor. She was in danger of dying within months. Listen as the surgeon and the team at axial3D discuss how this world-first, life-saving operation was made possible through technology. Learn about the company’s plans to use machine learning to complete labor-intensive tasks to create functional 3D models from 2D scans, eliminating costly human intervention. This allows surgeons to do what they do best — treat patients.

Preventing the Cambridge Analytica of Health Data
In the future, your medical prognosis may be predicted by data from fitness monitors, genetic testing kits, insurance databases, web searches, or even your cell phone’s GPS. Want to participate in a clinical trial? No need to visit the doctor’s office, just click “I agree,” and you’re enrolled! Taking healthcare digital is exciting — it has the potential to expand beyond the academic medical center and the traditional clinical trial. It can also democratize research by making studies more accessible to underserved and remote communities, making data more diverse and inclusive. But as we freely share our information, and as tech companies edge into the healthcare sphere, what protections are needed for ourselves, and our data?

Introducing Ann: The Warm Hands of AI
Tiril Sommerfeldt Syversen’s father’s fight with dementia inspired her to look to modern technologies for ways to support dementia sufferers in communicating their needs. With dementia experts, Syversen, the User Experience Designer at Accenture Interactive, created Ann: an IBM Watson virtual agent that blends data from a patient’s medical records and experiences with AI to predict behavior and form hypotheses, to improve patient communication. Currently a second-iteration prototype, Ann demonstrates how we can combine AI with human experience to make healthcare personal.

Next-Gen Technology Ignites Healthier Lifestyles
More than one third of Americans are obese, and the problem is getting worse. The long-term impact of obesity includes diseases that are not just deadly, they’re expensive — obesity costs an estimated $149 billion annually in directly related health care spending and an additional $66 billion a year in lower economic productivity. The good news is some people are getting healthier, but the more difficult challenge is staying healthy. With more time spent in cars and at desks, how can busy people make their wellness a priority in their daily lives? With Apple’s “Screen Time” app and Google making greater headway into health by bringing their Digital Wellbeing initiative to Google Assistant and Google Home, people have more opportunities for technology to support their health.

The Future of Wellbeing with Ubiquitous Sensing
The panel explores how sensors can shape the future of work and personal life to make people happier and healthier. Ubiquitous sensors have the power to measure every aspect of people’s work, home, and bodies 24/7. Yet can sensors be used as a workplace “big brother”? How can we ensure that these technologies are used for greater individual and societal good? This panel presents cutting-edge research on human sensing that can subtly influence human actions and perceptions, such as jewelry that regulates appetite and camera signals that detect emotion. Panelists from industry and academia include technologists who develop state-of-the-art sensors and experts in human-computer interaction and psychology.

Behind the Scenes: Designing Better Medicines and Big Data and AI
In a world where so much has been reimagined by technology, why are hundreds of millions of people suffering from incurable diseases and healthcare spending placing an unsustainable burden on society? Despite an explosion in scientific research and exponential advances in technology, bringing a new medicine to market takes 10+ years, costs up to $2.5 billion and has over a 90% likelihood of failure. It is an industry that represents one of the greatest unmet human needs and is in desperate need for change. Listen as members of the Benevolent team offer a behind-the-scenes introduction from our scientists and AI experts, as they embark on a journey to better understand the causes of devastating diseases and redefine the way in which new medicines are discovered and brought to patients.

The Exoskeletons: Wearable AI Goes the Extra Mile
Step into the future with ONYX, Lockheed Martin’s AI-powered lower-body exoskeleton. Astronaut and retired Navy Captain Tony Antonelli join Lead ONYX Engineer Gavin Barnes to discuss how ONYX improves human endurance and how exoskeletons may someday even help astronauts live and work on Mars.

More Memories from SXSW 2019
The Future of Food
AI, With Feeling
Future of AI
Why News Matters
Better Storytelling
Innovative Design
Addressing MeToo
AI for Business
Public Interest AI
Change is Coming
Urban Mobility
It’s Time for Sports!
Saving the Ocean
Military Matters
Women’s Health
Social Media Power
Telling New Media Stories
Marvel’s Magic
Future Health
May the Fourth
Women in Tech
Growing Unicorns
Thriving at Work
Making a Difference
Fighting Fake News
Disaster Response
Hacking Democracy
Pete Buttigieg
Kara Swisher
Arlan Hamilton

Do these audio recordings inspire you to get involved in a SXSW session next year? Enter your forward-thinking speaking proposal for March 2020 via the SXSW PanelPicker. Speaking proposals for next year’s event are accepted via this interface through July 19.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.

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Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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