With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) rapidly becoming significant players in multiple areas of science and technology, it came as no surprise to witness a full house for Athena’s program “Taking Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) from Concept to Application,” held at Intuit in San Diego last Thursday evening. This program showcased Athena’s continuing mission to empower women scientists and technologists to be leaders of the future, a mission for which Morrison and Foerster has been a long-time partner. Designed to be a continuation of last year’s event, which introduced AI and ML, this year’s program explored some real-world applications of this groundbreaking technology. The panelists at the event this year included Lorraine Bacon, Business Architect Lead at Oracle; B.K. Chaurasiya, Principal Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services (AWS); Leah Zhao, Senior Machine Learning Engineer at Intuit; and Dr. Claire Weston, CEO at Reveal Biosciences. Each speaker offered a candid glimpse into how their particular industry harnesses the power of AI and ML to meet consumer needs.
Both Bacon and Chaurasiya discussed the AI concepts that allow machines to act as personal assistants. Bacon described how the intricate world of Human Resources was navigated by the assistant, which she demonstrated is able not only to pull up a health plan number for an employee checking in at the doctor’s office, but to suggest and enroll the employee in courses that would further his or her career. Chaurasiya described a personal assistant that in this case was integrated into a car. Through a demo, he showed that the assistant was able to access people’s personal calendars, navigate them to the location of their first meeting, and recommend a quick stop to their favorite coffee shop, given that the assistant was further capable of identifying that they had time to spare.
Zhao described some of the AI and ML technology behind Intuit’s TurboTax, including the “Get to Know Me” algorithm that provides recommendations to users based on their profiles. In addition, Zhao described the simultaneous use of multiple ML methods for the purpose of anomaly detection. In this case, multiple ML algorithms receive the same input data, and if a majority of the algorithms determine the event to be anomalous, action can be taken by a human operator. This type of analysis can flag an anomaly for investigation within minutes of its occurrence.
Perhaps of most relevance to the area of life sciences, and breaking away from the fields where AI and ML are traditionally used, Dr. Weston described how Reveal Biosciences is applying AI and ML to healthcare in an effort to assist pathologists in diagnosing disease. Pathologists examine samples of body tissue, also known as histopathological analysis, in order to assess disease states. Conclusions drawn from such studies have a significant bearing on patient outcomes, since these conclusions can inform future clinical treatment. Dr. Weston presented data suggesting that diagnostic conclusions varied among pathologists even when presented with the same sample. In view of this variability, Dr. Weston set out to develop a more objective approach to pathology through AI and ML. Using existing histopathological data, including data associated with clinical trials, Reveal Biosciences is developing algorithms that can diagnose, and even predict the course of, a disease.
Athena’s timely event underscores how AI and ML are rapidly being viewed as valuable technologies for accelerating and enhancing productivity in numerous commercial and non-commercial sectors. The inclusion of Dr. Weston from Reveal Biosciences as a panelist leant an especially unique and exciting perspective to the use of AI and ML. This fact was readily apparent as Dr. Weston received numerous questions from the audience about how AI and ML were being used to inform questions of “life and death,” in addition to inquiries about how regulatory agencies such as the FDA are responding to the use of ML and AI in healthcare.
Athena is a women's empowerment organization that fast tracks women in STEM through leadership development. By transforming scientists and technologists into corporate leaders, the goal is to widen the bridge and empower 1 million women in STEM, by 2030. Its 20+ year history of advancing women in a global STEM hub marks Athena as a premier women’s empowerment advocate.
Founded in 1998, Athena members hold positions of senior executive, entrepreneur, and in academia from all sectors of STEM: life sciences, technology, healthcare, defense, engineering, as well as the associated service providers.