iCarbonX, a Shenzhen startup founded in 2015 by Jun Wang, recently announced detailed plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) in developing a healthcare app that would crunch unheard-of amounts of data on every one of its users and deliver predictions for developing various diseases.
Allied with a host of other companies manufacturing various technologies that can easily monitor traces of various particles in human blood and other tissue, iCarbonX plans to use cutting edge AI algorithms to process this information and provide quick diagnostics. The app, called Meum, will also use extraneous factors like air pollution, diet and fitness levels of its users in its predictive algorithm.
Jun Wang has worked on gene sequencing at the Beijing Genomics Institute since its founding and has led it since 2007, contributing to multiple groundbreaking ‘firsts’ in the field. Being frustrated that simple genomics-based techniques failed to provide actionable predictions for the development of various diseases and seeing the stratospheric rise in machine learning and AI technologies led him to found iCarbonX in 2015.
The initial round of investment for iCarbonX was led by Chinese investment company Tencent, the owner of WeChat, a subsidiary that has pledged computing power for the nascent startup. In the end the firm accrued over $600 million from various sources to kick-start its ambitious efforts of disrupting the healthcare industry.
Earlier last year, Google’s DeepMind also announced plans to use their patented expertise in deep learning to develop a similar app. Called Streams, it will be designed for use in hospitals by doctors and nurses to cut down on diagnosis time. Though less ambitious, the app is predicted to significantly reduce bookwork in hospitals and alert doctors to patients who need immediate help.
While the primary inputs for Streams will be information derived from blood tests, a five-year cooperation plan with an NHS trust will grant Google access to a wealth of complementary information it will be able to mine to better the algorithms behind Streams. A necessity for its systems to be as accurate as possible, this partnership has, however, raised concerns about privacy breaches.
(featured image courtesy of x6e38 on Flickr)