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Bill Gates Says AI Can Save the Life of Children by Revolutionizing Healthcare

  • 4 min read

As a healthcare manager, I really like this vision.

AI will play a transformative role in the healthcare sector.

Many professionals I’ve spoken to concur that AI-driven diagnostics and medication discovery will become standard practice in the healthcare sector, where I work as a product manager.

McKinsey & Company stated:

“Experts say AI — if properly integrated into scientists’ research — could revolutionize drug discovery, making it possible for more patients to get the treatments they need.”

5 million children under the age of 5 die every year

Bill Gates concluded his latest blog post “The Age of AI has begun”, with the words:

“The Age of AI is filled with opportunities and responsibilities.”

One aspect he’s referring to is that globally the worst inequity is in health.

“5 million children under the age of 5 die every year. That’s down from 10 million two decades ago, but it’s still a shockingly high number.”

These tragic statistics hurt my heart as a mother of a 2.5-year-old myself.

Countless children could have had their lives saved

When I started my career in healthcare 12 years ago, I raised awareness for Amref Health Africa. The mission of this non-profit organization is to increase sustainable health access to communities in Africa.

While working for Amref, I discovered that countless moms, children, and women could have had their lives saved.

In my opinion, one of the best uses of healthcare is undoubtedly saving children’s lives.

In the future, AI can play a crucial role in saving lives

Gates shared in his post that nearly all children who die of preventable causes such as malaria or diarrhea were born in poor countries such as Africa.

“It’s hard to imagine a better use of AIs than saving the lives of children.”

You might be curious as to how AI will specifically contribute to the future survival of millions of children.

I’ll give you two examples:

1 — AI can help take preventable steps to reduce child deaths

AI can help combat conditions like diarrhea and malaria which are preventable causes of child death.

AI can aid in the prediction of disease outbreaks by analyzing enormous volumes of data, allowing public health agencies to spend resources more effectively and put preventive measures into place faster.

Additionally, AI can assist in the development of more effective vaccines and treatments for these diseases.

2 — AI can help to enhance nutrition and disease prevention

AI can be used to develop better seeds and advise farmers on the best planting strategies based on local conditions, leading to improved crop yields and nutrition.

AI can also help develop drugs and vaccines for livestock, ensuring a more reliable food supply for communities.

These advances will be particularly important as climate change exacerbates the challenges faced by subsistence farmers in poor countries.

We’ll make a better day, just you and me

Marily Nika, a computer scientist and an AI Product Leader at Meta’s reality lab, shared that within three weeks one of her AI course students was able “to create a little model that was able to take us an input x-ray that they found online and was able to tell us what was wrong if something was wrong with that patient. (…).

She added:

“Obviously, it was just by photos we were able to crawl online for x-rays. But the concept is there that you can build something like that, you can create it.”

When I heard this it reminded me of the charity single “We Are The World”…

“There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all”

Anyone can use AI and create something that serves the health of others.

Bottom Line

We have to keep in mind that especially in healthcare, AI has to be tested very carefully.

This means it will take longer to be adopted than in other industries.

However, Bill Gates's vision of AI that can save the lives of children is wonderful and every single one of us can help to make this vision come true.

“It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me”

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