Digital masters about health

Digital masters of health

What if healthcare was fully digitized and managed by a single platform??

If data is the new oil, then health data represents a particularly noble form of this oil. The visionaries at google, facebook and microsoft want to extract more knowledge about diseases and thus conquer the growing healthcare market. Trillions of dollars are at stake. The german healthcare industry alone was worth around 370 billion euros in 2018 and is growing at an annual rate of around 4.1 percent, much faster than the gross domestic product. For digital corporations, the biology of the human body is an information-processing process that can be seen through and corrected for errors with the help of adaptive algorithms. With its power over data and computing power, silicon valley could gain a monopoly over the new, data-driven medicine – as it already does over social networks or online search.

In christian j. Meier’s thriller "k.I. – who programs destiny" (polarise, 2019), the author sketches a future in which that is already reality. A fictitious digital corporation "gaia" has monopolized medicine. Diagnoses and therapies are calculated in its cloud. Local clinicians are just onlookers. After the unexpected death of one of her patients, frankfurt doctor jette blomberg believes something is wrong with gaia’s machinery. With researcher patrick reinerts and his extremely fast-learning ai "laplace" she wants to examine patient data herself. In the process, the two heroes stumble upon a dangerous secret that puts them in the sights of brent scott, gaia’s powerful boss.

digital masters of health

Here is chapter 10 of the novel, where jette and patrick had their first conversation. In it comes "rhea" the ubiquitous virtual assistant programmed by gaia.

Patrick loved to sink his head into the pillow. He loved the feeling of letting go of the tension that had tired him during the day. Even if he never managed to do so down to the depths of his muscles; his body always kept a part of itself on alert, ready to pounce. Patrick waited for rhea to turn off the light.

Instead, the virtual assistant reported a call from jette blomberg. "From whom?", patrick asked. "The doctor from frankfurt. Your filter is open for her, so i’m putting her contact request through." remaining lying down he accepted the call. The call is coming through a gaia-independent provider with end-to-end encryption, rhea said. "Is that okay with you, patrick??" rhea’s tone was subtly reproachful. Patrick agreed.

He laughed as jette blomberg’s face appeared in his field of vision. He steamed the background. Instantly he forgave the reservations. Patrick had imagined a belittled do-gooder. Blomberg, however, was very good looking. Middle threefold. Shoulder-length blond hair, coarse blue eyes, smooth skin, high cheekbones, a narrow, elegant nose. He threw the blanket aside, heaved himself up, jerked the standing mirror on the shelf next to the bed into place, and looked inside. Blomberg did not return patrick’s smile. But she looked at her counterpart for seconds before she said something.

"Doctor reinerts, thank you very much for accepting my request." "but with pleasure", he said. "How can i be of service?" "i have read your paper on laplace." patrick stretched his upper body and expanded his chest. "Yes?" "i am a doctor. Oncologist and surgeon. Doctor reinerts, you say in your paper that your machine can foresee events that no one expects." patrick was pleased. Obviously she was interested as a doctor, not as an activist. "Given enough information, yes." "in any case, the disease cancer is very complex. Randomness certainly also plays a role. But you write that your machine can also cope with random elements. You know, every time a person gets sick with it, it’s something like a … What do you call it?" "a black swan?" "exactly, black swan. The catastrophe out of the blue. Only in retrospect you are often not surprised." "you want to predict cancer with the help of laplace?", patrick advised. Jette blomberg was surprised, as if she hadn’t even thought of the idea yet. "Yes, that sounds good. It could be done to a certain extent with existing techniques. But people don’t like to be given risk profiles. They don’t want to know for sure and trust gaia’s medical care." "oh, what would you use laplace for then??", patrick wondered. Jette blomberg drew. She seemed to get over herself. "For the next kind of black swan. The death. Can laplace predict whether a cancer patient will die or not, and when?" oha. You entered difficult terrain. Patrick affirmed. "Certainly also more accurate and reliable than previous algorithms for this purpose", he added. "Wollen sie ihren patienten rechtzeitig palliative betreuung zukommen lassen?" blomberg rubbed his eyes. After that they shone more clearly. And more passionate. Now it came. "We all know about gaia’s global medicine monopoly, doctor reinerts", lifted them up. "This company resembles the priests of the medieval church. Only they have the wire to the top, to the truth that determines the fate of our bodies. A streamer recently speculated that we could all be immortal for a long time. Earlier only god knew that. Today gaia knows it too."

A weight settled on patrick’s chest. His joy at the doctor’s interest vanished. He was dealing with the zealot in jette blomberg after all. "They want to ask laplace if we are immortal?" she shook her head. "No, doctor reinerts. All i want is for laplace to calculate the remaining life of a single patient. He could do that. Right?" "sure", patrick replied tonelessly. "Of course, the person has to agree to us using their data." "the person is dead", said jette. She lowered her eyes. Patrick was at a loss for words. "They want to calculate the life expectancy of a corpse?", he said after seconds. She raised her head and looked at him seriously and determinedly. Patrick pointed his index finger at her: "you think he had to be alive, right?" jette nodded. "I know that you distrust gaia", said patrick. "You want to look critically at ‘fate’ as you call it. But the company does not control our fate. She is auditable. In principle at least. Even without laplace." "then do it when others leave it!", shouted jette. Patrick looked down. "I said ‘in principle." he looked her in the eye again. "Doctor blomberg, suppose laplace said that the person should still be alive. Do you seriously think gaia would be blamed for that??" "it would naturally remain between us. It was just a piece of the puzzle in my investigation." patrick’s breath stopped for a moment. "Did you say "investigation"??" she nodded. "What kind??" "it’s about the drug cocktail", she explained, "that gaia had prepared for the patient. It was tampered with." too bad she is a weirdo, patrick thought and laughed mirthlessly. "That’s a steep thesis, doctor blomberg, how do you intend to prove it?? Do you know the mechanism of action of the individual components of the cocktail??" she narrowed her eyes. "How should it work then?", asked patrick. "With a powerful ai, perhaps? One like you have, doctor reinerts."

He laughed suffisantly. "Why should i have an interest in harming gaia??", he asked. "And if i did: do you seriously believe that a doctor from the frankfurt university hospital and a researcher from the university of stuttgart are capable of defeating the most powerful company in the west??" jette leaned forward. Her face now filled almost all of patrick’s field of vision. "Yes, doctor reinerts, i believe that. No one can enforce a lie in the long run. As a scientist, don’t you feel obliged to the truth?? It is preferable to the so-called good life!" he shook his head and raised his hand disapprovingly. "A beautiful philosophical observation, doctor blomberg", he said. "But do you know what you are saying?? If, god forbid, you should be right in your speculations, gaia would implode. The system is based on trust. Gaia is the consumer’s center of gravity, its sun. It became damn dark in the west when it suddenly went out. Clear the way for the dictators from beijing. Understand: this planet cannot afford a scandal about gaia! That would no longer be black swan, that would be armageddon!" blomberg paused. "If i am right, it will come to that sooner or later anyway. Isn’t armageddon the kind of black swan you’re after?? I thought you wanted to avert it." "exactly. By ending this conversation now." "mr. Reinerts. Do you realize what my suspicions are about?? People who are dying. Are you ready to accept that for your false peace??" patrick held out his hand to the mirror and shook his head. "Again", jette blomberg said. "Do you want to protect a lie?" "i am sorry if i cannot help you. I would be happy to talk to you further, mrs. Blomberg. About other subjects, i mean. But i’m afraid it’s of little use. Goodbye." he cut the connection. Sighing he loved to fall into bed. But the pleasurable relaxation did not come. Like sleep.

Information about ki on the riffreporter page of christian j. Meier.

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