Could your Netflix viewing habits predict that you will develop inflammatory bowel disease? Might your use of religious language in Facebook posts signal that you have diabetes? Could Amazon’s Alexa start telling you when you are getting sick and offer to sell you medicines?
All of the big technology companies have been moving into health care recently, making investments that mobilize their vast troves of consumer data. Amazon is selling software that can mine patient records and is expanding Alexa’s health and wellness capabilities. Google is developing A.I.-powered voice recognition software called “Medical Digital Assist” to help doctors dictate medical records. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has a partnership between Verily (the company’s life sciences arm) and Walgreens to monitor patient medication “adherence.” Apple has been steadily developing health and medical apps for its smartwatches that can integrate personal health tracking data with electronic medical record systems at partner hospitals. Microsoft is developing A.I. software for medical records through the Azure for Health cloud. Even Uber and Lyft are getting into the game with “non-emergency medical transport.”