Scientists have predicted a post human world for a while. In varying versions of the future, humans either cease to exist because they have been exterminated or have fused with machines in what is known as the Singularity. While this future unfolds, machines have gone to work to solve massive problems facing mankind. They do this by combining the ability to perform very large scale computations, repeatedly without tiring. Combined with the ability to discern patterns from data much like we humans do when we detect the colour red, this is a capacity that can be transformational.

In its early days, Watson, the Artificially Intelligent computer created by IBM was used to play chess and Go with humans. It beat them comprehensively. In time, its capacity has channelized to detect cancer. Cancer occurs in the body when the cells in your body become free radicals. These free radicals then in turn infect other cells around them. Early detection of cancer oftentimes helps patients reverse cancer. It is therefore extremely valuable to be able to sift through large amounts of data and discern patterns that indicate potential cancer. This is something that machines are getting extremely good at doing. Watson is able to ingest large volumes of data – millions of books in minutes to keep adding to its knowledge and understanding of progress in real time. This is impossible with any single doctor that is attempting to diagnose you. It is also able to generate insight – put this information to work to make sense of all the data points and then predict what is the most probable possible outcome.

Our future health care system will soon have a centralised cloud based intelligent system. Into this cloud, we will stream all our data. This system will then detect in real time the risks of disease – short, medium and long term. The beauty of such a system is that it can corroborate external data points such as weather, contamination exposure to chemicals because of the places you visited and then correlate all of this to assess risk. Since early detection means reduced risk it will significantly reduce life threatening diseases. Such a future is not far away.