AI in Healthcare: World Economic Forum emerging technologies report 

As a World Economic Forum platform partner, Frontiers is collaborating with the Forum on the 2023 edition of its annual emerging technologies report. Chosen by an international panel of experts, the list of top ten emerging technologies included in the report were selected from nearly 100 contenders based on criteria including novelty, applicability, depth, and power. 

Credit: Frontiers

AI in healthcare 

One of the top ten emerging technologies identified in the report, the use of AI in healthcare has come to prominence largely as a result of the weaknesses in worldwide public health systems highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These technologies can enable us to anticipate and effectively address future health crises and can also help to reduce long waiting times for medical care. AI-based healthcare could particularly benefit healthcare systems in the Global South. 

Alongside the benefits of this technology, there are of course also challenges such as data privacy, public acceptance, and patient compliance which must be addressed. A carefully crafted ethical framework will be required for any system that curates personal data on a vast population. Despite these challenges, AI-based healthcare solutions are poised to become increasingly prevalent in the next 3–5 years. 

Thomas Hartung, editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, one of the journals supporting the collaboration on the Forum report, said: “Healthcare, including medicine and public health, represents 10-18% of the GDP of most countries. The entire sector is undergoing massive transformation due to the advent of powerful AI technologies.” 

The transformation map, created as part of the emerging technologies report, has enabled the editorial board of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence to identify six key issues aligned with the journal’s publishing strategy in medicine and public health. 

In considering the impact of AI on healthcare, Bernard Meyerson, one of the report’s authors and a member of the Forum’s steering committee for the project, stated: “It is clear that AI-based approaches can revolutionize healthcare, particularly in underserved populations. Integrating AI and machine learning into healthcare systems is crucial to anticipate and effectively address major health crises, democratize access to care, and reduce treatment waiting times.” 

About the emerging technologies report 

For the first time this year the emerging technologies report incorporates “impact fingerprint” survey data offering a more in-depth analysis of the technology’s predicted impact on people, planet, prosperity, industry, and equity over coming years. The academics surveyed were selected from Frontiers’ network of scientific journal editors, while industry leaders were selected from the Forum’s Innovator Communities.  

Frontiers’ chief executive editor Frederick Fenter, who has spearheaded the publisher’s collaboration on the report, said: “This report is an important interface between researchers working at the forefront of science and the leaders who need to understand their work. It has been particularly inspiring to collaborate with the Forum in developing new features to enhance the report’s impact and consolidate its position as an essential resource across research, industry and policy making.” 

To facilitate deeper engagement with the emerging technologies, Frontiers has also co-curated transformation maps for each technology. These are hosted on the Forum’s strategic intelligence platform, where readers can learn more about the key issues of each technology and how it connects to other topics on the global agenda as well as find the latest articles on the topic from trusted sources. 

About Frontiers  

Frontiers is the 3rd most-cited and 6th largest research publisher. We publish groundbreaking discoveries by the world’s top experts. Scientists empower society and our mission is to accelerate scientific discovery by making science open. We place the researcher at the center of everything we do and enable the research community to develop the solutions we need to live healthy lives on a healthy planet. Featuring custom-built technology, artificial intelligence, and rigorous quality standards, our research articles have been viewed more than 1.9 billion times, reflecting the power of research that is open for all.

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