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HomeBusinessCryptoWHO asserts AI's capability to transform global health amid risks

WHO asserts AI’s capability to transform global health amid risks

Wahid Pessarlay

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated its belief in the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the state of global public health amid the dizzying pace of innovation.

In a statement, the United Nations agency said AI integrations in healthcare could spell a raft of positives, including diagnosis, treatments, and outpatient care. It also disclosed that AI is the final piece of the puzzle to tackle pandemics and find lasting solutions to leading global health challenges.

“WHO recognizes the potential of AI in enhancing health for all,” read a portion of the Facebook post.

WHO has previously dabbled in the technology by introducing a chatbot to provide users health-related information. The Smart AI Resource Assistant for Health (S.A.R.A.H) showed glimpses of promise via its “enhanced empathetic response,” akin to real-life health professionals, with the added benefit of 24/7 availability.

S.A.R.A.H builds upon an earlier chatbot, Florence, from 2020, designed to provide users with tailored responses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The future of health is digital, and supporting countries to harness the power of digital technologies for health is a priority for WHO,” remarked WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “S.A.R.A.H gives us a glimpse of how artificial intelligence could be used in the future to improve access to health information in a more interactive way.”

Rather than go overboard with generative AI experiments, WHO said it will proceed cautiously, citing many pitfalls that could rock the global healthcare industry if not properly managed. The organization’s latest post on Facebook highlighted the grim sides of AI in public health, including the potential for wrong diagnosis and misuse of patients’ data by bad actors.

To address the challenges, WHO is advocating for watertight regulations for AI worldwide while pursuing the prospect of integrating it with other emerging technologies to protect personal data.

In early 2024, WHO unveiled several recommendations for countries to adopt, urging a proactive approach toward regulation. Top on the list for WHO is the inclusion of scientists in the rule-making process and focusing on security standards to prevent data breaches.

Climbing use cases

AI has found new applications in healthcare since the technology became mainstream. Use cases span drug synthesis and surgical procedures via computer vision. Other use cases include the reliance on algorithms to sort waiting lists, Meta‘s (NASDAQ: META) attempt at interpreting brain activity, and cancer detection.

One report by Spherical Insights and Consulting reveals that AI in health could attain a valuation of nearly $30 billion before the end of 2033, driven by the leaps in medical image analysis and diagnostics. Currently, the industry is valued at a mere $1.5 billion, with the prediction representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.84%.

In order for artificial intelligence (AI) to work right within the law and thrive in the face of growing challenges, it needs to integrate an enterprise blockchain system that ensures data input quality and ownership—allowing it to keep data safe while also guaranteeing the immutability of data. Check out CoinGeek’s coverage on this emerging tech to learn more why Enterprise blockchain will be the backbone of AI.

Watch: How Artificial Intelligence cures the world’s loneliness epidemic

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