AI can make world a more equitable place: Bill Gates

If we make smart investments now, artificial  intelligence (AI) can make the world a more equitable place, reducing  or even eliminating the lag time between when the rich world gets an  innovation and when the poor world does.

The main lesson is that the product must be tailored to the people who will use it.

One of the biggest impacts so far is on creating new medicines. Drug  discovery requires combing through massive amounts of data, and “AI  tools can speed up that process significantly”.

Some companies are already working on cancer drugs developed this way.  But a key priority of the Gates Foundation in AI is ensuring these tools  also address health issues that disproportionately affect the world’s  poorest, like AIDS, TB, and malaria.

Can AI combat antibiotic resistance?

The tool will comb through all the available information—including local  clinical guidelines and health surveillance data about which pathogens  are currently at risk of developing resistance in the area—and make  suggestions for the best drug, dosage, and duration.

On the question can AI help treat high-risk pregnancies, Gates met some  of the researchers at non-profit Armaan this year, who hope to use  artificial intelligence to improve the odds for new mothers in India.

Their large language model will one day act as a copilot for health  workers treating high-risk pregnancies. It can be used in both English  and Telugu, and the coolest part is that it automatically adjusts to the  experience level of the person using it.

A new South African chatbot aims to make HIV risk assessment a lot  easier. It acts like an unbiased and nonjudgmental counsellor who can  provide around-the-clock advice.

If I had to make a prediction, in high-income countries like the United  States, I would guess that we are 18–24 months away from significant  levels of AI use by the general population.

In African countries, I expect to see a comparable level of use in three  years or so. That’s still a gap, but it’s much shorter than the lag  times we’ve seen with other innovations.