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The impact of AI on healthcare is going to be huge. AI has the ability to outperform humans when it comes to a variety of tasks; analysing and sharing patient records; storing and evaluating medical research; merging data; alerting patients to the threat of different kinds of illness; and even carrying out critical surgery in operating theatres.
In the media, there is much discussion taking place about AI and how it will disrupt the global healthcare industry, introducing phenomena such as Precision Health; personally tailored health monitoring, smart AI-driven advice, access to "virtual" doctors, and drug discovery.
Whilst this is all true, and there is no reason to think that it will not happen, possibly within the next decade, it's also important not to get carried away. Reading the media, some investors may feel that they have missed the boat when it comes to investing in AI-driven health, but this is most certainly not the case.
As usual, the media runs slightly ahead of reality. Many of the most talked about innovations that are filling so many column inches are still at an early stage of development, and there are good reasons for this.
Firstly, it has taken time for major global firms—whether it's tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM, for example; or global pharma enterprises like Roche—to understand the significance of AI and begin to incorporate it into their strategic thinking. Even IBM's celebrated Watson healthcare program has recently suffered from a round of redundancies as the company struggles to marry the twin concepts of technology and healthcare.
Secondly, top AI programmers and developers cost a small fortune to hire, but these people often prefer to follow their own instincts and work for startups, where they believe they will enjoy greater freedom and their work can be more impactful. For example, many of Watson's ex-employees have recently told media that the company cannot keep pace with the work being done by smaller, more agile healthtech startups.
Of course, most startups, and particularly those within a highly technical sector such as a AI HealthTech, require funding to keep them going in the early stages, which is great news for investors, who, if they can pick a winning idea or company, stand to make substantial gains of 10, 20m or even 200 times their initial stake. Granted, there will be a lot of failures in an industry as competitive and experimental as this one, but most investors will invest in a portfolio of companies, hoping that 1 success compensates for a number of failures.
My startup, Eterly, provides an alternative to the "boom and bust" approach of investing in a single aspect of AI-driven healthcare.
First, let me explain our core product.
Our app, currently in beta, but available from the Apple or Google Play stores, integrates with wearable technology to gather information about users health. An intelligent AI chatbot, or "virtual personal trainer" prompts the user for further information about their health, taking into account mood, diet, sleep, and medical history—if the user agrees to supply it.
Eterly takes this data and merges it with the latest longevity and medical research, using thousands of different data points, including selected biomarkers of aging, to calculate a "Longevity Score", that is unique to every user, and can be improved by following Eterly's smart, AI-driven longevity coaching recommendations.
We hope to release a beta Longevity Score before the end of the year, and our development team is busy building a substantial database repository of longevity tips, learning, and advice aimed at helping users optimise their healthy routines and discover more about the state of their health.
Now let me explain what makes Eterly different and an attractive investment proposition.
We are not just busy building an AI-driven healthtech app, but we are also establishing partnerships with other longevity focused startups. Some, like DeepWave Technologies, which analyses sleep patterns using neuroscience to help users get better rest, focus on niche areas of longevity science, adding their considerable brain power and expertise to a specific problem, in this case healthy life-extending sleep habits.
By joining Eterly's open source "Open Marketplace" platform—effectively a self-sustaining ecosystem of healthy longevity advice, learning and products—Deep Wave can benefit from Eterly's growing user base.
Deep Wave is just one of a number of niche healthtech startups we are looking to partner with. To build our longevity ecosystem platform, we are enlisting the help of Syscoin, who have the blockchain experience we are looking for.
We believe that building a blockchain based platform is the best way to get users, startups, medical experts and investors all together under one umbrella, working together to further the cause of AI healthcare and longevity.
Our next fundraising round (we are looking for a $500k seed round) will help us release the full version of the app, and finance an ICO that aims to raise in the region of $15m. We plan to award tokens to all those, like DeepWave, who make a contribution to the platform, as well as our users, who may also make contributions and earn tokens in the form of data, participation in longevity plans, and peer-reviewing new products and services.
Instead of investing into just one niche element of the AI healthcare revolution, through backing Eterly, its app and longevity ecosystem, investors can back tens, hundreds or even, one day, thousands of some of the most promising novel therapies and intelligent health solutions, without the risk of losing their shirt.