ai improve health

How Can Data and AI Improve the Health of Our Cities?

Source: Marianne Sibaud, ArchDaily

Artificial intelligence systems endeavor to replicate or mimic human intelligence by combining datasets with iterative processing algorithms to learn from patterns and experience. From Siri, Alexa and other smart assistants to conversational bots and email spam filters, what once seemed like a technology pulled from science fiction has become ubiquitous in our daily lives.

In the context of our cities, data and AI are transforming the urban health landscape and providing new opportunities for governments and health systems to evolve from being reactive, to becoming proactive, predictive, and even preventative, to keep city dwellers healthy.

Faced with unprecedented health challenges, from cardiovascular and other chronic diseases to increased pressures on health systems due to rapid urbanization and the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for new solutions is apparent. With this in mind, governments around the world are actively harnessing the power of AI to improve urban population health; implementing policies, partnerships and investment strategies to drive digital transformation. Yet despite AI’s potential in supporting decision-making and improving overall population health, various challenges have emerged; namely concerns about algorithmic biases and data privacy, as well as barriers to implementation such as a lack of infrastructure and technical capabilities.

International collaboration and dialogues can help governments and policy makers embrace best practices, learn from challenges and failures, and achieve their priorities. AI4HealthyCities accelerates such collaborations on digital innovations and health by fostering dialogues for multi sectoral stakeholders in cities around the world to share experiences in the use of data and AI to transform urban health and wellbeing, increase health equity, and create intelligent cities.

In the initiative’s first report, the governments of Quebec and São Paulo worked with the Novartis and NewCities Foundations to pioneer the dialogues and ensure local relevance. An initial workshop series enabled participants to map priorities and identify further needs, challenges, and solutions for implementing AI for health. This supported the development of a set of 12 policy recommendations to help guide governments in harnessing the power of data and digital solutions to improve health and wellbeing of urban populations, all the while respecting regulatory frameworks and ensuring a responsible, ethical approach to deploying AI in urban spaces.

To delve further into the topic, ArchDaily collaborated with NewCities and a panel of experts to discuss today’s key urban health challenges, the possibilities that data and digital innovations like AI offer in improving health access, as well as identify its potential risks and challenges.

See below for the full conversation between Theresa Reiker, Associate Director of Population Health (Novartis Foundation), Cécile Petitgand, Data Access Advisor (Quebec Health Research Fund), and Clara Langevin, Project Manager, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Brazil). Moderated by Marianne Sibaud, Strategic Partnerships Executive (ArchDaily).

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