It couldve been a huge triumph for technology.
BlueDots AI (artificial intelligence) software spotted the early COVID-19 outbreak before it even had a name.
In fact, its system picked up the pattern of unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China
nine days before the World Health Organization sounded the alarm in December 2019.
Working just as designed, the AI sifted through countless sources. It flagged the infectious disease in real time.
It even went a step further. Shortly after detecting COVID-19, BlueDot took a look at travel data. It calculated the most likely cities to experience outbreaks next.
And it was right.
COVID-19 cases spiked where BlueDot said they would: in Bangkok, Tokyo, Hong Kong and eight other cities.
But given the global nature of the pandemic today, it doesnt seem like all the data and alerts helped governments and businesses stem the spread.
COVID has shown us that we have a data-access problem at the national and international level that prevents us from addressing burning problems in national health emergencies.
Thats what Isaac Kohane head of Harvard Medical Schools Department of Biomedical Informatics said at an online medical conference in July. He makes a good point.
Even with countries sharing data, tracking the virus was still difficult because of major differences in technology from place to place.
According to the Harvard Gazette, were still using fax machines here in the U.S. to send some reports to public health centers.
Theres still a lot of room for improvement.
But the good news is that were still in the early days. AI systems and infrastructure are continuing to upgrade. Well soon see massive improvements in medicine around the world.
AI could genuinely stop the next outbreak.
And the opportunity for investors as this plays out is enormous.
AI Isnt Yet Ready for the Real World
The COVID-19 case is one of many good examples of the state of AI in medicine in 2021. We can see that advancements will be revolutionary
but theyre still on the ground floor today.
Take a look at how AI is used in medical imaging … AI tech can recognize and flag many more potential ailments in scans and photos than a person can in the same timeframe.
But in real-world practice, it cant take the place of medical professionals not yet. Thats because slow (or no) internet and low-resolution images from old equipment can make AI analysis impossible.
When Google launched an AI to help analyze retinal scans at several clinics in Thailand, we got a firsthand look at this. The technology problems became clear right away.
Slow internet made uploading the images into the system a long process. And AI rejected more than a fifth of the images for quality issues, forcing doctors to analyze the scans themselves.
Theyve been waiting here since 6 a.m., said one nurse of the long lines, and for the first two hours we could only screen 10 patients.
Until reliable, fast internet and up-to-date equipment is more available everywhere, these AI systems arent reaching their full potential in rural areas or developing nations.
These types of kinks will be worked out in the next few years. And we could see enormous benefits.
In the Thailand test run, the governments goal was to scan peoples retinas for early signs of diabetes-related blindness. If caught early, patients could see untold health improvements.
And although were not quite there yet, its giving us a huge investing opportunity
Theres Still Time to Profit
AI has already become a huge component of hospitals and health care, as you can see in the chart below. And thats with all the current problems.
Imagine what will happen in a few years when all those issues are resolved.
Market researcher Grand View Research believes that the market for AI in health care could reach $31.3 billion by 2025. Thats up from only $5.9 billion in 2020 a 430% increase.
Theres too much invested in AI today to slow down. Theres no stopping this train.
And as weve shown you, our health care system is about to be even more loaded than ever as baby boomers age. Theyll force the health care sector to expand astronomically. And AI advancements will become crucial in easing the burden.
And we expect one of our favorite exchange-traded funds to benefit. The Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSE: VHT) carries a basket of biotech companies, equipment manufacturers and management providers.
In other words: It carries the companies most likely to benefit as this revolution ramps up. These are the companies that will sell the equipment and systems to help doctors work with AI.
If you havent already checked out VHT, we recommend you do so today.
This Device Will Make American Manufacturing Great Again [sponsor]
See the device in the box on this table here? Its the size of a desktop computer
and functionally has the same manufacturing power as the assembly line. Its creating 63 million new factory jobs
right here in America. MADE IN AMERICA is back! And one small little-known company is at the forefront of this $100 TRILLION shift. Click here for full details.