Microsoft uses AI systems to spot immune system diseases

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Microsoft is looking to use AI to help diagnose any health-related problems as early as possible. 

The computing giant is partnering with Seattle-based biotech company Adaptive to create smarter blood tests that, using artificial intelligence, could check for hundreds of diseases at a time.

Part of the deal will see Microsoft invest an undisclosed sum of money into Adaptive. Geekwire reports that the combined value of the two is in the “hundreds of millions of dollars”.

The idea is simple. Our own bodies are good at spotting diseases very, very early. Humans aren’t as good as machines when it comes to reading these warnings.

“Fundamentally, nature or evolution is more advanced in some ways than we’re ever going to be,” Adaptive Co-founder and CTO Harlan Robins, also Chad Robins’ brother, told GeekWire. “The system our bodies have for detecting and getting rid of disease is called the adaptive immune system, and it’s going to be better at detecting disease than we’ll ever be.”

Current diagnostics look for specific diseases, but the new approach could be more over-arching, the firms believe.

Chad Robins, the Adaptive CEO, compared it to an X-ray machine. “An X-ray machine can be used to diagnose a broken wrist but it can also be used to diagnose a broken leg,” he said. In the same way, the test could be used to diagnose diseases as different as pancreatic cancer and multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease.”

So theoretically, you could go to the doctors once a year for your annual checkup and be scanned for a whole bunch of diseases, very fast.

Image source: Shutterstock/Wichy