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What Now? AI, Episode 3: Innovation for Good

While the news headlines about AI often focus on dangers and risks, the potential for life-saving innovation in fields such as health care is huge.

In the third episode of What Now? AI, co-hosts Beth Coleman and Rahul Krishnan are joined by University of Toronto experts Christine Allen and Andrew Pinto to discuss AI’s potential to advance drug development and dramatically improve primary care. 

Listen to episode two on Apple, Spotify, SoundCloud, iHeartRadio and Amazon. Watch episode three on YouTube. 

Allen, a professor in U of T’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and an expert in drug formulation and development, co-founded Intrepid Labs Inc. with Alán Aspuru-Guzik, a professor in the departments of chemistry and computer science in U of T’s Faculty of Arts & Science. 

One of the first startups to emerge from the Acceleration Consortium at U of T, Intrepid Labs is accelerating pharmaceutical drug development through the integration of AI, automation and advanced computing.

“It’s this concept of using AI to explore the unexplored,” Allen says. 

“What if that formulation could really transform the properties and performance of your drug is one of those unexplored formulations. That will then take that drug through clinical development smoothly and get it to patients faster, which is really the goal.”

Meanwhile, Pinto, a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and director of the Upstream Lab, Unity Health Toronto, focuses his research on addressing the social determinants of health by running clinical trials of interventions and using AI tools for surveillance of respiratory illness. 

“When we started to do this work around AI in primary care, we wanted to be directed by primary care providers and patients,” says Pinto, an associate professor in the department of family and community medicine in U of T’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine and at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. 

Reducing health-care inequities is top of mind for Pinto. His lab focuses on implementing AI to prioritize community engagement and bridge socioeconomic gaps to mitigate biases. 

“We’re using these tools to look at all of the patients in a population and then focus our attention on the people who need it most.” 

About the hosts: 

Beth Coleman is an associate professor at U of T Mississauga’s Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology and the Faculty of Information. She is also a research lead on AI policy and praxis at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. Coleman authored Reality Was Whatever Happened: Octavia Butler AI and Other Possible Worlds using art and generative AI. 

Rahul Krishnan is an assistant professor in U of T’s department of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science and department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. He is a Canada CIFAR Chair at the Vector Institute, a faculty affiliate at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society and a faculty member at the Temerty Centre for AI Research and Education in Medicine (T-CAIREM). 

Originally Appeared Here

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