Tech Tonics: Daphne Koller – Guiding Health From AI to Actual Intelligence

December 4th, 2017 |
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While most of us spent our early teens dealing with the drama of middle school, Daphne Koller was in Israel simultaneously completing high school and college. She was a computer science prodigy on the fast path to a career as a leading AI researcher, an entrepreneur, and now the Chief Computing Officer at Calico, a stealthy, brainy, well-funded startup focused on human longevity.

Along the way, Daphne picked up a MacArthur “Genius” Award and co-founded the online teaching company Coursera – two remarkable accomplishments that we don’t have time to discuss on today’s show. Instead, we learn about her fascinating personal journey from Israel to the Bay Area, then spend most of our time getting up to speed on the current state of AI, and learn where, why, and when it’s likely to palpably impact healthcare.

Of particular interest, Daphne discusses the need for folk who are “bilingual” – who deeply understand both AI and healthcare; such domain knowledge, Daphne says, is critically important, and associated with the development of algorithms that perform the best. We discuss the challenge of balancing the benefits of incorporating domain expertise with the concern that in doing so you might introduce your own preconceived biases.

Today’s episode is brought to you by DNAnexus, the secure and compliant cloud platform that enables enterprise users to analyze, collaborate around, and integrate massive amounts of genetic and other health data.

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