Predictive AI will soon make preventive healthcare possible

Thema:
Artifical intelligence

Health data is essential when it comes to predicting the level of risk of certain illnesses. The fact that this does not yet take place on a large scale is entirely due to the sensitivity of this data. TNO is investigating whether this problem can be overcome through the use of artificial intelligence.

Our healthcare system is more or less all about treating people who are already sick. But that means we are effectively responding to events, rather than controlling them. A much smarter approach would be to use health data to predict the likelihood of someone getting a particular illness or condition. That, after all, would give that person the opportunity to take appropriate preventive measures at an early stage.

Jointly working on ehealth

TNO is currently laying the foundations for an AI system that will make preventive healthcare possible. As part of that operation, we are receiving help from a range of companies and organisations that are also closely involved with medical data and eHealth, such as Connect2Health, MRDM, and Performation.

AI that respects privacy

How great is the risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes within the next five years? This was the question at the heart of the first project, in 2020. It produced some very interesting insights.

Using large quantities of an individual’s health data, artificial intelligence is able to estimate the risk of type 2 diabetes, but without actually collecting the data or storing it in a centralised location.

Instead, it remains at its original location. And from a technical point of view, it is possible to retrieve only the relevant data from the various databases in a way that does not endanger privacy. It is therefore not the case that AI also ‘picks up’ other privacy-sensitive data.

Moreover, the solution takes account of possible bias in the data. This privacy-by-design solution appears to work well in practice. Whether it can actually be used in real-life situations very much depends (due to privacy legislation, among other things) on the exact question for which an answer is needed and the agreements between the parties involved. Work therefore remains to be done in this area.

Macgyver infrastructure

Meanwhile, the next phase is now underway. This sees TNO carrying out a test project in which consumers’ health data is linked with medical data. The researchers themselves refer to a MacGyver infrastructure.

By that, they mean they are building a rapid solution that will meet only the minimum requirements. However, their ambitions are far from minimal. The intended end-result of the plan is a professional AI system and infrastructure to which 17 million smartphones can be connected.

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Rob de Wijk on the rise of AI in geopolitical context

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

Anne Fleur van Veenstra, director of science at TNO’s SA&P unit, interviews Rob de Wijk, emeritus professor of international relations in Leiden and founder of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. Rob is also a much sought-after expert who appears on radio and television programmes. What does the rise of AI mean geopolitically and in armed conflicts?

Bram Schot on the impact of AI on mobility

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

Marieke Martens, science director at TNO and professor of automated vehicles at the Eindhoven University of Technology, talks to Bram Schot. Schot was the CEO of Audi until 2020, having previously held management positions at various car makers, including Mercedes and Volkswagen. Their conversation concerns the influence of AI on mobility. How will AI impact the production process? And what does a future with autonomous vehicles look like?

Eppo Bruins on AI in different government domains

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

Michiel van der Meulen, chief geologist for the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (GDN), speaks with Eppo Bruins. Bruins was educated as a nuclear physicist and has spent many years working in the world of science, innovation, and technology. Between 2015 and 2021, he was a Dutch member of parliament for the Christian Union. He was recently appointed chairman of the Advisory council for science, technology and innovation (AWTI). What will AI mean for the various government domains in the coming years?

Bas Haring on AI, science and philosophy

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

Michiel van der Meulen, chief geologist for the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (GDN), speaks with Bas Haring. Haring originally studied artificial intelligence, which at the time still fell under the umbrella of philosophy, which is why people started calling him a philosopher. He himself feels more like a ‘folk philosopher’: Haring tries to make science and philosophy accessible to a wider audience. In 2001, he published a children’s book about evolution, Cheese and the Theory of Evolution. What better springboard for a geologist and a philosopher to talk about AI?

Arnon Grunberg on AI, creativity and morality

Informatietype:
Insight
27 September 2022

Peter Werkhoven, chief scientific officer at TNO, talks to Arnon Grunberg from his base in New York. Grunberg made his breakthrough in 1994 with his novel, Blue Mondays. He has since become one of the Netherlands’ best-known authors. The two talked about AI over dinner some years ago. Today, they finally get the chance to continue their conversation. What is Grunberg’s view on creativity? Can it be taught to machines? And how do humans morally relate to machines?