Dr. Hawking’s legend rests not only on his influence, but also his willingness to harness – as well as to push forward – the technology that has helped to make that influence possible. Hawking’s achievements are so remarkable, and his interfacing with technology so seemingly natural, that it begs the question: “What benefits does that interface hold for the rest of us?”
Olivier, Elsevier’s Managing Director of Research Products, goes on to explore the human-technology interface and, with the development of cognitive technologies, the advancement and benefits of artificial intelligence in academic research and medical practice.
In medicine, Olivier mentions the neuromuscular simulation technology that has radically transformed limb replacement; the practice of adapting technologies like 3D imaging and computer graphics to the needs of the patient and caregiver; and the burgeoning field of predictive analytics, which enables doctors to base their decisions on deep data analysis of many similar patient cases.
At Elsevier, we apply AI machine learning algorithms to research and adaptive learning platforms. For example, Sherpath — an adaptive education system for nurses and allied health professionals — uses data, analytics and adaptive techniques to track students’ interactions with content, assessments and simulations. These technologies “learn” from the user to create a personalized learning experience.
In the case of Dr. Hawking, who suffers from a progressive disease that has left him paralyzed, Olivier describes the sophisticated speech-generating technology enables him to speak through his computer by moving a muscle in his cheek.
Olivier concludes by suggesting a guiding principle for the development of technology:
As we push forward into this age of the marriage of data and technology, we must apply the basic principle that technology needs to serve humanity, first and last.
Olivier is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, where he explores thought-provoking areas of technology. You can read this latest blog post here.