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The Human Impact of Machine Learning in Medical Diagnostics & More

Xconomy San Diego — 

In January, UC San Diego announced that a group of scientists had succeeded in training a computer to tell the difference between a person with a “healthy” intestine from someone with inflammatory bowel disease by analyzing the genetic makeup of the microbes in their gut.

Less than two weeks later, scientists at Stanford University said they also had created an artificial intelligence algorithm that could diagnose skin cancer as accurately as a panel of 21 board-certified dermatologists.

These recent advances suggest we are on the verge of some major innovations in the use of machine learning for medical diagnoses. Think what it would mean, for example, if you could use your smartphone to take a photo of a worrisome mole and send the image in to be remotely analyzed by a computer system.

The Xconomy Forum on the Human Impact of Innovation, set for next Wednesday, April 19, at the Alexandria at Torrey Pines, was organized to highlight innovations that are expected to bring transformational change to how we live our lives. We’re bringing experts to the stage in everything from self-driving cars to precision medicine.

Something interesting happened, though, in the process of identifying major innovations and recruiting speakers for this afternoon conference: “Machine learning” emerged as a recurring theme in many of the talks.

Our leadoff speaker is Larry Smarr, founding director of the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology. In recent years, Smarr has moved to the forefront in the emerging field of “quantified health” and with Rob Knight, director of the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation, Smarr has been driving much of the research in the use of machine learning to recognize the unique characteristics of the microbiome in a sick gut.

Another speaker, former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin (who is the founding CEO of the San Diego neural computing company KnuEdge) plans to talk about the coming “tidal wave” of machine intelligence—and the massive disruption he expects it to bring.

Our goal is to explain how these changes are creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators in both technology and the life sciences, and to highlight San Diego’s role in the advance of these innovations.

In addition to Smarr and Goldin, our lineup of speakers includes:

Mary Lou Jepsen, founder, Openwater; former Director of Engineering, Facebook/Oculus

Henrik Christensen, Director, UCSD Institute for Contextual Robotics

Jeff Hawkins, VP on Reproductive and Genetic Health, Illumina

Clayton Lewis, Co-founder & CEO, Seattle-based Arivale

Jay Lichter, Managing Director, Avalon Ventures Partner

Steven Steinhubl, Professor, Scripps Translational Science Institute

Sandeep Pandya, President, NetraDyne

Patryk Laurent, director of AI engineering, LeEco

Paul Banks, President, TetraVue

Urs Köster, Senior Algorithm Engineer, Intel/Nervana Systems

Chris Borroni-Bird, VP of Strategic Development, Qualcomm

You can find our agenda for the Xconomy Forum on the Human Impact of Innovation here, and register to attend here. I hope to see you there!