This is such an interesting aspect of machine learning that could definitely save the end consumer thousands and thousands of dollars — not to mention potentially save their lives!
However, I wonder whether or not algorithms are able to replace the scientific experimentation work or the discovery aspect that goes into developing new drugs. For example, some of the groundbreaking medicines like penicillin were discovered by accident in a lab setting. Or, scientists are able to test responses of different molecules in extreme conditions, and these often lead to new findings and innovation. Additionally, machine learning is best used to generate prediction and not causation — I question how this would be able to be effectively designed into an algorithm.
This is a really interesting area of research and I can’t wait to see how Freenome evolves.
I agree with the author that the dangers of machine learning are predicated on what the inputs of the data are. I wonder what the time horizon of this research is, and how long Freenome plans on collecting data before coming to a workable “conclusion”? If for example, the healthy blood samples are from young men and women (in their 20s) and that colorectal cancer typically doesn’t emerge until 40s, then would Freenome wait 20 years to see if these healthy men and women developed colorectal cancer? If Freenome didn’t wait to see if these healthy blood samples developed cancer, then I question whether or not the data is representative of an accurate population of healthy and cancer patients and whether or not the results from the algorithm are meaningful.
I loved the quote about what men were looking for — I didn’t realize a different potato chip design could help absorb more alcohol!
While I agree that 3D printing allows PepsiCo to test out new product designs in a more efficient manner, I can’t help but wonder if it’s a cost effective investment. It could also appear to be a distraction, since plastic ridge chips can’t be eaten and physical potato chips cannot be printed (yet). I think utilizing 3D printing for new packaging designs is a great application of additive manufacturing, but I am skeptical on the benefits of food designs at this stage.
This leap in technology and innovation is incredible! This reminds me of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where they were testing out 3D printed blood vessels (I think?) — at the time I thought there was no way that 3D printing could complete such a feat. Of course, I was wrong!
I really like how the author explored not just the challenges the company faces with successfully developing and launching this product, but also the ethical issues that this technology would pose on society. With leaps in current technologies to improve the human lifespan (cord blood banking, in-vitro fertilization and stem cell research), these ethical concerns will only become more and more important in the face of 3D printing organs, with wealth being the ultimate decision driver of who can and cannot obtain the new technology or service. For example, cord blood banking is the process of freezing a newborn infant’s umbilical cord, which is rich with stem cells. There is a small chance that the stem cells in the umbilical cord could help save the child’s life down the road (e.g. if the child gets cancer and needs bone marrow transfusion). There is a blooming industry now that preys on insecure parents’ fears of the small probability that the child would need the cord blood. After all, which parent wouldn’t want to give everything they can to their child? Of course, this potentially-life-saving technology comes at a hefty price that only the wealthy could afford. The “initiation fee” is a few thousand dollars (and not covered by insurance) and the annual fee is a few hundred dollars. While cord blood banking technology does not have as broad of an impact as 3D printing organs, it illustrates a problem that organovo should consider as it continues with its product development.
Wow, this was really eye-opening. I didn’t realize that the average public school teacher spends ~$500 out of pocket each year. That’s incredibly upsetting and further drives my appreciation and respect for teachers in public schools.
On the question of how to disrupt the current publisher / school administration relationship, I wonder if TPT could offer some lesson plans or courses for “free” as a way for schools to try out the platform and the material. Afterwards, compare the cost of the TPT materials vs. the cost of the traditional publisher textbooks, and the benefits. It sounds like the TPT materials would be more cost effective, and be able to deliver better results. Then it would be a simple decision by the administrators to move towards TPT.
After reading this, I wonder if the future of LEGO is now shifting towards a customized / “design your own” sets model? This would be in a similar fashion of how consumers can customize and build their computers, sneakers and jewelry. It would further reinforce the aspect of LEGO leveraging their user base to help them drive product innovation — and they could charge premiums prices for these customized sets. While I acknowledge your concern of the risk that this would pose in terms of controlling its “knowledge base” (especially with the loss of the patent), I think it could be mitigated by patenting the new designs that come from the users. This way, users can feel accomplished, helping with a design and earning royalties, and LEGO can continue to protect its assets.