Anant Madabhushi was ready for the next step in his career as a researcher and educator. He was already widely recognized as a pioneer in the emerging field of machine learning, particularly for medical imaging and computer-aided diagnostics. He was the author of over 450 peer-reviewed publications and held over a hundred patents in the fields of AI, radiomics, computational pathology and computer vision. He had even seen his name printed in major mainstream publications such as Business Intern and American Scientist who spread the word about how the algorithms he created have dramatically improved the accuracy of cancer diagnosis.
But Madabhushi, a professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, wanted more. He wanted to get out of the lab and share his expert knowledge of AI with doctors and clinicians who could use it in health systems and hospitals. “I felt it was essential that I translate these algorithms into the medical ecosystem,” says Madabhushi. “It was time to move and deploy this technology into the clinical workflow.”
Around the time Madabhushi felt this attraction, he was contacted by Ravi Bellamkonda, a longtime friend and colleague who had recently been appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory. Bellamkonda told Madabhushi about a new initiative he was launching, called AI.Humanity, which would transform Emory into an interdisciplinary community that takes the study of AI out of the research framework and brings it to the forefront in the fields health, social justice, philosophy, business, law, literature, the arts and all other aspects of our lives that this technology touches, that is to say practically everything.
“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about health disparities and addressing issues of bias where we’ve left out underrepresented and minority populations in building these AI models.”
Simply put, the goal is to position Emory as a thought leader in this increasingly pervasive field and, as the name suggests, put humanity into machine learning and AI. “Emory wants to work to understand and influence the interface between this explosion of data and data-driven decisions and how we see ourselves as people, our society, our business and our way of being,” says Bellamkonda. . “Emory wants to make an investment and build that capability.”
In practice, AI.Humanity is an investment in people – a hiring initiative that will add to Emory’s existing strengths by bringing in between sixty and seventy-five new faculty across multiple departments, integrating AI expertise and machine learning across campus and creating a larger community for sharing ideas.
Madabhushi is one of the initiative’s first recruits. In July, he will join the Emory School of Medicine, where he can leverage the university’s renowned health science resources to use its AI and bioengineering algorithms. At the same time, it will be able to tap into the expertise of the Emory Center for Ethics, the School of Law, the Goizueta Business School, the Department of Political Science, and other arts and science programs. Having access to both sides of campus will help him and other recruits tackle ethics, legality, commerce, social justice and other issues that inevitably arise when this technology – trained on human data , employed by humans and used on other humans – happening in the world.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about health disparities and addressing issues of bias where we left out underrepresented and minority populations in building these AI models,” Madabhushi says. “Health care costs are out of control, and one of the reasons is that we have a number of therapies that are very expensive, and many of them don’t work for all populations. Sixty percent of cancer patients are bankrupt. I’m going there from a technical point of view. I’m excited to work with people who work there financially, ethically, and legally.