The UW Now Livestream with Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau and Eric Lefkofsky

Eric Lefkofsky knows what the future of health care should look like, at least from a standpoint of detecting disease.

“You want a diagnostic test that isn’t stupid, [not one] that just says you’re positive or negative,” he said. “But you want it to actually tell you what to do next, and that is the promise and the power of [artificial intelligence–empowered] health care.”

In other words, the future of medicine lies in data, if we can design systems smart enough to read those data clearly.

The Future of Data Science

Lefkofsky is the founder and CEO of Tempus, a precision medicine company. He joined UW computer sciences professor Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau to talk about the data revolution in health care during The UW Now Livestream event on September 22. Both speakers explored various changes in data technology over the last two decades — the collection of vast amounts of information, the application of cloud-based computing, and artificial intelligence. And both looked at ways these changes are helping drive improvements in medical research and treatment.

Arpaci-Dusseau noted that information is, itself, just raw material, and that without an ability to analyze it, it would be useless. “There’s so much data being generated,” he said. “But we wouldn’t be in the midst of a data revolution if that was all that was happening, if there was just a lot of data out there. We really need to do something with that data.”

Data Growth Creates Vast Possibilities to Improve Health Care

The growth in data collection combines with an increase in computing power to create vast possibilities. To Lefkofsky, this offers opportunity to improve health care. “I’ve been in technology since 1999,” he said. “I’ve had a front-row seat watching the internet, the birth of mobile, the birth of social. In my opinion, all of those are going to seem tiny in comparison to the big-data revolution in health care.”

The two speakers gave brief presentations and then took questions from viewers who followed the event live on YouTube. Mike Knetter, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, hosted the conversation and served as moderator.

To hear more from Arpaci-Dusseau and Lefkofsky, you can view a recording of The UW Now. The series is offered via YouTube and will continue through the fall. The next event will be October 6.