Facebook’s incredible mapping feat shows that neural networks are starting to do serious volumes of work seriously fast. Here’s why it matters
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.newscientist.com
Facebook is changing how we live and relate. It’s power is immense and whilst this can be scary, it can have massive benefits.
Artificial Intelligence or AI, as this story illustrates allows highly focused computers looking at a single task to do more than all of our great minds could ever do put together. It largely comes down to knowing what questions to ask. It must be very exciting to be a data scientist right now in the Facebook labs.
What got me excited was their talk about cancer. Going from mapping the earth using location based data from check-ins, photos and posts is a long way off finding a cure for cancer. However what they are learning about mining data from crowd-sourced information is putting social media companies into a very powerful position to do things that most others such as health societies, research institutes can’t. For a start they don’t have access to the data.
As a cancer patient, I read and get sent all sorts of stories about miracle cures and I’ve tried the odd thing myself. I am very interested in the concepts of treating cancer like a virus and immunology, using our own cells combined with other materials is starting to show results.
If a large number of people in the world who have cancer are on Facebook and are already sharing their experiences on the social media and that data could be mined by asking the right questions, using the combined strengths of social scientists, business intelligence experts, immunology, cancer and other health experts, it doesn’t seem inconceivable to me that those millions of experiences couldn’t produce some answers and fast.
Medical journals tend to focus on small samples of tests, but the overwhelming volume of information in this one platform could blitz their data sources of years of research, theses and practice. It could bypass the inherent inertia and process that the drug and health industry goes through. This doesn’t solve the problem, but it sure increases the sample size exponentially.
If you or one of your loved ones has cancer, how would this change your lives, from hoping that one day a cure may come, to some possible short cuts from a cloud based service that people use for entertainment and communication?
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