Amazon at the heart of our health!
While Amazon recently made the headlines following its various takeovers of retailers, one piece of news concerning it has gone virtually unnoticed, namely its positioning in the health industry in the form of a new laboratory code-named a1.492.
Among the job offers posted on the site, there is one for a machine-learning specialist having experience in technology relating to health and medical data. Enough to suggest that the team in question may be working on the subject of connected health, hardly surprising for Amazon!
Furthermore the ‘’1492” entity has bought out Grail, a start-up specializing in cancer, and is reportedly hiring a director of healthcare and life sciences.
On this subject, in an interview with CNBC in February 2018, the CEO Warren Buffett stated that a joint venture with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, aimed at achieving more than mere changes in health costs.
Moreover, this partnership has greater ambitions for drastically changing traditional healthcare. Warren Buffet adds that the healthcare costs in the United States represent roughly 18% of its gross domestic product (GDP) and that this percentage is likely to rise, whereas in other countries they only represent about 11% of GDP.
“I like the idea of tackling what I believe to be a major problem of our economy”, Buffett told CNBC.
Does Amazon want to replace public health?
While research in the field of health has now been pre-empted by Amazon and intends to change the public health system, it is interesting to look at the various initiatives of the net giants in this field.
Google presented the Cloud Healthcare API at the HIMSS 2018 conference, which aims to facilitate the gathering, storage and access to health data for medical organizations with its AI Deepmind.
At present, Google is experimenting the Cloud Healthcare API with a small group of partners such as the Stanford School of Medicine.
For its part, Samsung Health and digital therapy company WellDoc have joined forces to allow Samsung customers to access the new consumer version of WellDoc’s Diabetes Wellness Program (DWP).
Finally, in November 2017, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced its partnership with health technology giant Cerner to help medical service providers use their data to make ‘effective’ health predictions.
Finally, Amazon has entered into a partnership with Merck. This collaboration will turn the expertise of the two organizations to good account. Merck’s expertise in epidemiology, the development of medicines, observational research, medication subscription and patient education programmes, and Amazon’s expertise in web services, connected devices and voice interfaces. Merck is thus working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to explore the creation and delivery of innovative digital solutions for persons suffering from chronic illnesses by using Amazon Lex, namely the same deep learning technologies that drive Amazon Alexa.
Amazon is thus proactively creating a valuable health ecosystem (research, reactivity and intervention) around its IT voice platform Alexa.
This surge in momentum of Amazon in the world of health simply consolidates its broad ecosystem (which we presented at the Commerce Reloaded conference #CR18ECH) that affects virtually all our moments of daily life, just like its Chinese counterpart Alibaba, which proposes Alihealth for health.
The law will have to reinvent itself to restrict AI on the one hand and by extension our life… Governance, regulation of polymorphous AI-driven platforms will probably represent the best part of parliamentary work in the years to come and will undoubtedly spark a veritable public debate!