Healthcare Technology Featured Article

January 30, 2014

Science Fiction Becomes Reality: Health Tech Predictions from Dr. Satwant Kaur

It has often been said that science fiction predicts the technologies of the future. And in many cases, these predictions have in fact come true: we have wireless communication, we’ve traveled into space, we have lightweight and energy-efficient tablets that connect us to limitless information, we have electronic books, and we can talk to one another using video screens.

But the technological predictions of science fiction aren’t limited to movies, TV shows and novels. Dr. Satwant Kaur, who has over 20 years of experience in emerging technologies—and is the inventor of Intel’s “Reduced Interoperability Technologies” for computing platforms, has made a name for herself as the “First Lady of Emerging Technologies.” She has, over the years, made numerous predictions that seemed outlandish at the time, but have come to pass nonetheless. Dr. Kaur believes that in 2014, we will see great strides in computer-assisted diagnosis, and in cancer diagnostics specifically.

This kind of technology—computers that emulate human oncologists—could mean huge things for cancer patients in the near future. Oncologists perform tests to identify where a cancer patient’s disease has spread, and analyze the information to suggest the best course of action for treatment. Dr. Kaur believes that while the technology to emulate human oncologists is in the works, it could be a reality much sooner than anyone expected. Soon, computers may be able to perform all the same tasks as a human oncologist, as well as pull information from a database of medical studies to cross-reference and make a more informed decision. Even the best oncologists cannot do this immediately, especially when time is of the essence for a patient’s successful recovery.

But does this mean that human oncologists may soon be out of work? It’s a controversial and somewhat unnerving prospect, one that is a common theme in science fiction: super computers becoming so effective that human minds fall behind, and their jobs become obsolete. Dr. Kaur is at ITEXPO in Miami this week, and this morning delivered a compelling keynote on her technology predictions for 2014.

Dr. Kaur holds a Bachelors of Technology in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, India, as well as an MS in engineering and computer science and a PhD in enhanced Internet protocols for efficient mobile communication, both from Oakland University in Oakland, Mich.

Edited by Ryan Sartor
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