Artificial Intelligence – Exciting or Scary? IBM Goes for Excitement

artificial intelligence healthy

Photo: Deposit Photos, agsandrew


When you think of artificial intelligence, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the cyborg assassin in the 1984 flick, The Terminator, might come to mind. However, today, artificial intelligence or AI, has stepped out of science fiction scripts and is being developed and used to help diagnose, monitor and treat patients.

Artificial intelligence, the development of computer systems to perform human intelligence, is now taking a different and exciting step forward thanks to a partnership between IBM and the University of California San Diego.

The multi-year project plan is to enhance quality of life and independence for aging populations. All of this will be done through the new Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center (AIHL), located on the campus of UC San Diego.

The groundbreaking center will bring together the technology, artificial intelligence and life sciences knowledge of IBM and UC San Diego to promote critical research and applications in two thematic areas: Healthy Aging and the Human Microbiome.

This collaboration is part of the IBM Cognitive Horizons Network, an international consortium of leading universities working with IBM to develop technologies needed to help fulfill the promise of AI.

According to the National Institute on Aging, cognitive health—the ability to clearly think, learn and remember—is an important component of brain health.

“This is a very prestigious relationship for UC San Diego, the first university on the West Coast to collaborate with the IBM Cognitive Horizons Network,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Our campus, one of the top 15 research universities in the world, is home to changemakers whose innovation will help advance cognitive wellness to make a difference in our lives.”

The collaborative research initiative will use AI to comb through massive amounts of data to enable healthier living. Funds will be used to support faculty research; trainee stipends including opportunities for UC San Diego graduate and undergraduate students; administrative support; equipment; and corporate affiliation.

“We’re committed to collaborating with the best minds in academia to inspire the next generation of scientists by providing access to leading-edge AI tools and expertise to solve real problems that impact human lives,” said Dr. John Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research. “This new collaboration with UC San Diego is the latest example of how we’re executing on this AI vision — and we are thrilled to bring our global AI research resources to Southern California to engage the wealth of local talent.”

The overall goals of the project are to develop and evaluate a cognitive framework for a supportive living environment that facilitates older adults to live independently longer and have a higher quality of life, and to discover and better understand the health implications of the human microbiome. During the project, the team anticipates that machine learning algorithms for sensing, understanding, modeling, personalizing and informing will be developed, with consideration to human-centered design, and testing in real world environments.

This initiative will bring together the campus’ top researchers in computer science, cognitive science, engineering and medicine, including psychiatry.

Over the course of five years this project plans to, for the first time, study in depth the impact that a combination of daily habits, the environment, genetics and the microbiome have on the cognition of older adults. The project expects to model the subtle changes of aging, and will deploy personalized interventions via robots that help support wellness. The ultimate goal is to enable older adults to live independently longer and have a higher quality of life.

Thanks to such research, we will no longer have to be thinking “Beam me up Scotty.” Help will be right here.

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