Data is the new fuel. In the fragmented health care system, however, this fuel is sequestered in many containers of all sizes and therefore not available for the artificial intelligence rocket that can be launched for moonshot projects.
Since our last issue of AIMed Magazine, the escalating global trade war between the US and China has led to discussions of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), which will have serious repercussions in Silicon Valley as these developments bring uncertainty into China’s capability to invest in startups in the US. The often overinflated valuations from Chinese investors in more speculative US startups have been a trademark of these investments . An additional concern from the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) is that these Chinese investments are essentially “Trojan Horses” into the American technological domain. As a result of the aforementioned changes, it is entirely possible that the Chinese investors will redirect their capital to other AI technology areas such as Canada, Europe, and Israel.
Issue 04 of AIMed Magazine focuses on the myriad of issues that surround the health data imbroglio such as access, security, and storage. The recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU has dramatically altered the personal data and privacy landscape while Taiwan is allowing patients to have access to their own health care data (personal health record, or PHR) and be accountable for its use. In addition, hospitals face challenges of providing data access and storage in the form of data warehouses for business intelligence while concomitantly encountering requests from data scientists to have access to data lakes. Perhaps data reservoirs could be a compromise infrastructure in the future to accommodate all stakeholders of health care data and artificial intelligence. A more apt futuristic solution is a self-programmable infrastructure called software-defined data centers (SDDC) that can be configured to achieve IT as a service (ITaaS).
In terms of security, algorithms that are difficult to hack such as the AES256 remain vulnerable to quantum computing. The blockchain system with its decentralized structure could be at least a partial answer to the present enigma of personal health data and security. An interesting news item recently was the dissemination of the unsafe vaccine news in China by an innovative means: using blockchain to post the article in the transaction’s metadata where notes are usually kept.
Lastly, cloud solutions will be essential for accommodating the data “tsunamis” to come in the form of genomic profiles and wearable technology data. Other innovative data storage solutions in the future include:
1) holographic discs that store data in three dimensions,
2) glass in the form of 5-D with nano grating technology,
3) DNA, which is ultra-compact and does not degrade.
In addition to the storage challenges, an essential coupling of the stored data with embedded algorithms and AI will be necessary so that the analytics can be performed early at the data acquisition process; this is the so-called embedded AI (eAI) or internet of everything (IoE).
As a pediatric cardiologist who deals with an escalating volume of data (including wearable devices), I welcome the day that health care data will be better curated and liberated from the data conundrum as well as be protected in the cloud with embedded AI. These measures will finally empower our patients to have ownership of their own health data and mitigate the increasing burden of physicians that is prevalent at an unprecedented scale.
 Chinese Investments in Silicon Valley: Cheques and Balances in The Economist, August 11-17th, 2018.
Anthony Chang, MD, MBA, MPH, MS
Chief Intelligence and Innovation Officer
Medical Director, The Sharon Disney Lund
Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (MI3)
Children’s Hospital of Orange County