• Bill Gates just published a seven-page letter on his predictions for AI.
  • He said that AI could help healthcare workers with productivity, especially in poorer countries.
  • It could be used as tools to help speed up medical breakthroughs.

According to Bill Gates, artificial intelligence is as revolutionary as mobile phones and the Internet.

Like other technologies that transformed the world, AI “will change the way people work, learn, travel, get health care, and communicate with each other,” wrote in a seven-page letter on Tuesday that outlined his thoughts on the future of AI. 

Gate’s letter, titled “The Age of AI has Begun,” outlines two main ways he thinks AI could change the healthcare and medical field in the next five to 10 years. A core focus is how the technology could help reduce the biggest inequities in the world. 

“It’s hard to imagine a better use of AIs than saving the lives of children,” he said. 

Gates is a cofounder of Microsoft, the tech giant that’s been working to incorporate new AI tools from OpenAI into its Bing search engine and Office software. Microsoft owns a large stake in OpenAI, and Gates praises the startup’s technology in his letter.

AI could help healthcare workers with productivity 

Gates said he expects to see a lot of innovation in AI that could help healthcare workers with efficiency and productivity. The technology could handle certain tasks on their behalf, he said, like filing insurance claims and drafting doctor’s notes. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a tool that uses AI to help doctors with their appointment notes.

Beyond helping in the day to day, Gates said that he believes AI could be especially important in transforming healthcare in poor countries, where many people often never get to see a doctor. 

“AIs will help the health workers they do see be more productive,” he said, adding that the technology could give patients advice on health problems, determine the seriousness of their injuries, and help determine whether treatment is needed. 

Gates added that while AI could be helpful in many areas, it “won’t be perfect and will make mistakes.”

For this reason, he noted that health-related AIs need to be carefully tested and properly regulated, meaning it might take them longer to be adopted in the healthcare field than in other spaces. 

“But then again, humans make mistakes too. And having no access to medical care is also a problem,” he added. 

AI is set to accelerate the rate of medical breakthroughs 

AI is already being used by healthcare companies to optimize the way they find and develop drugs, by sorting through massive amounts of data in biology. Gates said that the next generation of AI tools will be even more efficient, which will “dramatically accelerate the rate of medical breakthroughs.”

AI could potentially help predict side effects and determine dosing levels for a given drug, he said. 

Gates added that one of the priorities for the Gates Foundation is to make sure AI can be used to address health problems like AIDS, TB, and malaria, which mostly affect the poorest people in the world. 


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