AI is Powering Transformational Change

AI is Powering Transformational Change

We are living in exciting times as the power of artificial intelligence is unleashed, impacting on every sphere of life. At home, we might have Alexa at hand to dim the lights for us, so we don’t have to leave the sofa and I expect most of us are keeping an eye on the self-driving cars story, however we feel about it.

But keep a watching brief on some of the key online specialist publications and it’s truly amazing to read how AI is making breakthroughs that will result in hugely positive, transformational change for the world we live in.

The San Francisco company Bay Labs, for example, has developed AI technology that automatically reads ultrasounds and is able to detect conditions such as rheumatic heart disease, a condition that affects many children in developing countries. This means that countries, which may have access to imaging machines, but not the qualified technicians to interpret the results, are able to transform their diagnostic capabilities and ultimately save lives.

AI Can Read Your Mind

Just this week, it was reported that neuroscientists at Canada’s University of Toronto Scarborough are using AI to literally read people’s minds. According to subjects have been hooked up to EEG brainwave-reading equipment and shown images of faces. While they were hooked up, their brain activity was recorded and then analysed using machine learning algorithms. Incredibly, the researchers were able to use this information to re-create the image of the face stored in the subject’s mind. Writing on Luke Dormehi suggests that the technology could potentially be used by law enforcement to create more accurate eyewitness reports on a potential suspect’s likeness.

And for people living with disabilities, AI has unprecedented potential to give empowering independence. For example, a small device called Orcam MyEye was recently released for use by blind people. The device clips onto a pair of glasses and consists of a tiny camera and microphone linked to a smaller processor clipped onto the body. Using learnt image recognition the device reads out text on signs and documents as well as recognising people.

AI Can Help With Debt

There’s no doubt AI is powering change that will make the world a better place and we are similarly encouraged in our own world of financial security. Here at Castlight, we too have harnessed AI to transform our world – to keep people safe from unaffordable debt. We only have to remember the terrible toll wrought on families as a result of the financial tsunami of 2007, to appreciate the potency of financial vulnerability and distress.

Castlight’s AI powers our Affordability Passport, the digital tool used by lenders to assess an individual’s “affordability”, or how much debt they can safely take on, given a sophisticated breakdown of all their transactional data. And in a similar way to the AI learning that powers advances in other industries, our categorisation engine has been “trained” by processing millions of anonymised transactions, so that it can accurately categorise and sub-categorise each individual item of spending and income into over 155 categories. This means that lenders using the Affordability Passport technology as an integral part of a loan application process have the assurance that any loan their customer takes out is affordable, safe and sustainable.

There’s no doubt that AI is leaving the research labs and being integrated into businesses and organisations which affect our daily lives. And it was good to be able to pause this week and be grateful for the power of AI to impact positively in these key areas of medicine, law enforcement disability and financial security.