American tech giant Microsoft is planning on boosting its push in deepening AI in China through cooperation with healthcare players and empowering them with algorithms that are needed in the detection and prevention of certain diseases, the company’s top executive in China revealed.

The tech giant’s plan to create this kind of AI-powered ecosystem is partly spurred by their successful partnerships with players in US pharmaceutical industry, name a major one – Eli Lilly, the ecosystem aims to take burden off China’s overburdened healthcare system.

microsoft - Microsoft to Ramp up Efforts in AI Push

[Photo/China Daily]

“China is going to play a big role in artificial intelligence by making sure that companies partner with one another to resolve some of the big challenges that not only affect China but the rest of the world. I see a lot of innovation, through partnerships and the leveraging of technology, coming out of China,” said Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft Greater China.

Crozier said Microsoft has its strength in partnerships it has cemented in China and huge resources it can leverage from its powerful global networks. Partnerships with companies in different fields can give you sets of data, which can constantly optimize and enrich solutions and algorithms we provide.

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According to agreements, Microsoft will extend to its partners such technologies as AI and cloud computing in the fields of disease screening and medical imaging, and will boost workflow optimization, for example, digitalization of medical records, through natural language processing.

As to how the ecosystem works, let’s look at an example. When assess your possibility of developing diabetes, all needed to do is to look at your retina, by algorithms-powered image analysis, Microsoft and its partnering medical player can assess your chance of getting diabetes.

Voice recognition also has a fantastic role to play, specialist IFlytek is working on improving clinicians’ workflow, to make it possible to translate doctors’ voice diagnosis into digital texts in real time.

Apart from Microsoft, another team of companies are also itching to delve into smart medicine. Google is making investigation into the application of deep learning into digital pathology through creating a kind of automated detection algorithm which can complement pathologists’ workflow.

Royal Philips NV is applying diagnostic imaging solutions for detection of early symptoms of certain ailments in breasts, lungs and other organs.

Given China’s population size and big market, potential for AI in healthcare field is never overstated and the country is striding forward to master the technology. China’s AI-backed healthcare market is expected to hit $930 million by year 2020, according to a report recently released by International Data Corp.


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