AI and “quantum biology” may hold the key to changing medicine forever, maybe even the eradication of all disease!
Imagine a world where cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s even aging itself have been defeated or can be treated in such a way that everyone can enjoy a long life of strength, vitality, and good health. That is the ultimate promise of artificial intelligence in healthcare, and it is AI combined with quantum computing which is creating the emerging field of “quantum biology” that could make that world a reality.
At its most basic meaning, the term “quantum” refers to something that is so small that it borders on the infinitesimal. In quantum physics, that means the smallest particle possible that still maintains the properties of the matter it is part of. In quantum biology, it may reveal the deepest level of understanding of how the body works and the real impact of disease that has thus far eluded even the most advanced medical science — and quantum computing will help.
Without getting into heavy details on how — quantum computing has processing power and memory capacity that is many orders of magnitude higher than conventional computers. With its ability to process massive amounts of data quickly, quantum computing, when combined with AI algorithms, may provide researchers with the in-depth information they need to unlock the innermost secrets of the human body.
One area where this is, albeit in its infancy, but already occurring is in Pharma research and drug discovery.
With quantum technology, the hope is that drug-trial simulations can eliminate the high development costs, reducing the barriers that prevent pharmaceutical companies from investing in developing treatments for rare diseases, speeding up trials, and improving patient outcomes.
This is especially true for some of the rarest yet most devastating conditions. It is an unfortunate economic reality that innovative treatments for rare diseases, no matter how fatal or debilitating they can be – rarely get developed because it is just too costly, relative to the people that would benefit and therefore pay for any drugs that were developed. But, with AI and quantum computing significantly reducing the costs of drug discovery at every phase – that profit motive can be removed. The development of effective treatment for all diseases, no matter how rare, could be possible, which could radically change healthcare for the better.
AI, Quantum Computing, and “The Virtual Patient”
Besides drug discovery, the other area in healthcare where AI combined with quantum computing is likely to make the biggest paradigm shift is in cognitive digital twin technologies or CDT. In CDT, a “digital twin” of a real-world system is created using AI algorithms. Digital twins are already being used to monitor the “healthspan” of high-value mechanical systems such as cars, boats, and airplanes. NOAA recently announced it is using AI to develop a “digital twin” of the Earth itself to track global climate change.
CDT is already being used in healthcare through the creation of “virtual organs,” which are being used in drug trials. But the Holy Grail of personalized healthcare is the creation of a digital twin of yourself. Just as digital twins of helicopters and fighter jets are used to monitor systems breakdowns for preventive maintenance – once each of us has our own cognitive digital twins, our doctors can monitor us for health issues before they become major concerns.
A “digital patient” will also make very specific and targeted therapeutics a reality, as your doctor can try different drugs on you virtually to see what is the most effective treatment without any fear of side effects or complications. Quantum computing will make the digital twinning of something as complex as the human body possible.
Currently, the pharmaceutical industry, and indeed all of healthcare by its very nature, has to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Every patient with a condition is treated with the same few drugs or treatment options. But know not all drugs are not effective for everyone. Quantum tech will allow doctors to personalize medicines to create uniquely tailored treatments for their patients, which will be a fundamental shift in healthcare.
How Big Rio Can Help
Quantum computing is still very much an emerging technology with large-scale and practical applications still a way off. However, the technology is steadily graduating from the lab and heading for the marketplace. In 2019, Google announced that it had achieved “quantum supremacy,” IBM has committed to doubling the power of its quantum computers every year, and numerous other companies and academic institutions are investing billions toward making quantum computing a commercial reality.
Quantum computing will take artificial intelligence and machine learning to the next level. The marriage between the two is an area to pay very close attention to for startups as well as for where Big Tech will be going over the next five to ten years, and where ever this road can take use BigRio will be there to help get startups and society as a whole to its ultimate destination.
Rohit Mahajan is a Managing Partner with BigRio. He has a particular expertise in the development and design of innovative solutions for clients in Healthcare, Financial Services, Retail, Automotive, Manufacturing, and other industry segments.
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