The potential of artificial intelligence in the healthcare sector

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been identified worldwide as one of those technologies with the greatest projection and impact in all areas of activity. AI acts as a catalyst for research and innovation, making the generation, storage and processing of massive data (Big Data) an economic sector in itself. In this new digital scenario, the development of AI has become one of the top technological priorities for both the European Union and Spain, as stated in the National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence.

This phenomenon is already having a strong transformative impact on multiple sectors of activity, such as the creative and cultural industries, tourism, banking, insurance, in addition to highly sensitive and strategic sectors such as education, security and especially healthcare.

In this sector, AI refers to the set of technologies that extend human capabilities through the use of intelligent machines that perceive, understand, act and learn to perform administrative and clinical tasks. These technologies include natural language processing, intelligent agents, machine vision, machine learning, expert systems, data analysis software, data-driven diagnostic tools, chatbots and speech recognition.

But AI is emerging, above all, as a tool that can quickly learn and analyse vast amounts of information from patient records, imaging tests and scientific advances to help doctors provide better diagnoses and treatments. Such applications will free professionals from performing some monotonous tasks, such as analysing medical images, but will also mean a before and after in better understanding brain development, improving the diagnosis of patients with dementia or diagnosing people with cardiovascular diseases.

In short, a new paradigm that will require an interdisciplinary approach focused on people and incorporating the different perspectives of multiple branches of science, such as engineering, mathematics, physics, biology, neuroscience and sociology.

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