One of the great things about teaching kids to build with technology is that it equips them with the skills necessary to develop solutions at scale that can truly change the world. In this blog post, we will highlight a few world changing applications that are already in flight with the hopes of inspiring the next generation to build upon this foundation of invention and innovation from their predecessors. As humans continue to multiply and emerging trends (70% of world’s population concentrated in major cities by 2050), there will be an increasing opportunity to leverage these technology-based tools to drive positive change in our world.
As humans are living longer through advances in medical care, diagnosis and treatment; there is also an opportunity to further improve the quality of life as we get older. For example, there is a company named Merantix that is leveraging technology to more affordably detect lymph nodes in patient. Merantix estimates that a radiologist earns $100/hour and can only accurately annotate ~4 images per hour. This means that to complete 10,000 images would cost $250,000
. By developing boundary conditions that can recognize the difference between normal and abnormal lymph nodes and then using artificial intelligence, the computers in partnership with a doctor can determine which lymph nodes are likely to be cancerous. This focuses the radiologist on manually reviewing the images that are most likely to be problematic. In addition because of the large and growing data set, the algorithm should improve its capabilities over time.
In an emergency, time is one of the most crucial elements in determining whether or not a patient will live or die. The Cincinnati Fire Department is piloting a predictive analytics program to optimize medical response to improve outcomes. Dispatchers who use this system receive a recommendation about whether or not the patient should be treated on site or routed to the nearest hospital based on a variety of factors including: location, weather, and type of emergency
. Given the real-time nature of the inputs, the system should drive meaningful improvements in the results of emergency response.
As we’ve seen in several examples throughout our history, financial crashes can have a significant impact on society. Whether it is the recent economic dislocation in the United States based on the overexpansion and rapid deleveraging in the housing market, these events can create real challenges for those nearing retirement or those just getting started. One of the proposed solutions is to use artificial intelligence to better detect this systemic risk in financial markets. Using this technology, it is possible to better identify abnormalities, outliers, or deviant cases requiring additional investigation
. By getting ahead of potential issues, central banks and government agencies can intervene earlier to cool down markets or eliminate fraud that if left unchecked has the potential to impact large numbers of participants.
Just this week, we learned that the suspect in the Golden State killings was apprehended using DNA uploaded to a genealogy site
. The DNA was in aggregate compared to others and matches were found amongst relatives which led to the uncovering of the actual suspect. While the initially focus of these sites was to learn more about people’s backgrounds, there is unique and compelling law enforcement use case given the immutable identifying characteristics of DNA. Understandably, users have expressed privacy concerns regarding the use of their data. However, the capability to anonymize the data for those not under investigation combined with the desire to apprehend those who hurt others will likely take precedent in these scenarios.
While the above are just a handful of examples of the world changing power of technology, it should be clear that the next generation can utilize their knowledge of building with technology to impact positive change. The next generation has a multitude of interests and ability. As the price of computing decreases along with a corresponding increase in capabilities, we will see more and more world changing inventions and innovations. It’s going to be awesome to see what the next generation comes up with.