AI used to prevent kidney failure
Alphabet’s AI division, Deep Mind, worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to develop an algorithm that accurately predicts kidney injury up to two days before it occurs. Kidney injury is an often fatal condition frequently occurring among hospital patients and difficult to detect until its onset. The algorithm is effective at identifying patients who are highly likely to have kidney damage in time to effectively treat them. Financial Times
dis-rup-shun: This exciting use of machine learning, improperly termed AI, relies on vast amounts of hundreds of patients’ records to ‘feed’ the algorithm. This same analysis is promising in detecting many other diseases such as breast cancer, heart disease and others, and will eventually become the primary form of diagnosis, relying primarily on data and secondarily on trained medical professionals. This transformation of the medical industry and relief from a shortage of medical professionals, however, will be stunted by the problem of patient privacy. In order to build effective data sets that are the foundation of detection algorithms, tens of thousands of patient records must be de-personalized for protection of privacy — a thorny issue that HIPPA is designed to prevent.
Consumers tire of expensive phones — leading to softer tech economy
Consumers were raised on carrier subsidized handsets — meaning a new phone required only a few hundred dollars out of pocket. Given that the latest smartphones from Apple and Samsung cost around $1000 and are no longer carrier subsidized, sales are slowing. Apple’s sales are down 15% and Samsung 11%, according to a number of sources. Consumers are increasingly embracing less expensive phones made by Chinese companies Xiomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. Huawei, despite sanctions from the U.S. government, has achieved a worldwide market share of 15%, a sliver behind Apple’s 16%. ExtremeTech
dis-rup-shun: We have seen cellphone incumbents Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry rise and fall in stunningly swift succession. Surely Apple and Samsung won’t miss the call to offer more variety of price points and let upstart “value players” quickly grab market share, followed by growing consumer approval of the new brands. In the cutthroat electronics business, fast is often not fast enough, and smartphones are a very large driver of the tech economy and associated stock prices.
The confusing world of streaming music players
Selecting the right streaming music speakers for the right setting is increasingly difficult with many new form factors and options. Wired profiles the major options from Sonos, with prices from $50 to $1100.
dis-rup-shun: As a teenager, the holy grail of music enjoyment was owning a giant receiver (what’s that?) and speakers that were at least waist high. Today, the majority of music fans don’t understand file compression and the loss of high fidelity that came with digital music, and very few understand the best architecture for a whole home audio system. Wired or wireless? Digital to analog or all digital? Sonos is the new Bose, and all but very discriminating aficionados will be content with a digital streaming music player.