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A more Nuanced use of AI?

Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate 
Edited by Kevin Pringle, partner
13 April 2021

Good morning,

The healthcare sector was long believed to be playing catch-up with the adoption of AI, but the tide finally seems to be turning.
 
See, for example, yesterday’s announcement that Microsoft is set to buy AI health firm Nuance Communications in a $19.7bn deal aimed at boosting the tech company’s healthcare offering. Microsoft joins a growing number of companies – PatchAI, Sineko and Brainscan, among others – set to revolutionise the healthcare sector through the adoption of AI. 
 
The deal shines a light on one of many ways in which artificial intelligence and healthcare will converge in the years to come. Speaking about the merger, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said that “AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application”. 
 
And researchers seem to agree – studies show that artificial intelligence is becoming better at doing what humans do, but in a more efficient, cost-effective, and faster way. Some experts project that the integration of AI in the healthcare industry is set to become a catalyst for long-term innovation in the sector over the next ten years.
 
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated that trend, with recent projections showing that around $1bn was invested in AI-focused healthcare start-ups in the first quarter of 2020 alone, and predicting that the industry is set to grow at a rate of 44% until 2026.
 
There are a number of setbacks to the deployment of AI in healthcare, with data handling and cybersecurity regulations still remaining a work in progress.
 
But despite these challenges, Microsoft’s Nuance acquisition is just one of many signs that businesses and providers continue to embrace AI’s potential. Its potential for the healthcare services sector is yet to be fully realised. 

News

The government has announced an independent investigation into David Cameron’s efforts to lobby ministerson behalf of finance firm Greensill Capital. This comes after the former prime minister has come under criticism for being in contact with ministers via text on behalf of the company. Cameron has said that he has not broken any codes of conduct, but in a statement on Sunday he added that he should have contacted ministers through “formal” channels.
 
More than 4.5 million patients didn’t receive hospital treatment in England last year due to the disruption to the NHS caused by the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Health Foundation. It estimates that due to the large number of “missing patients”, the NHS’s waiting list could soar to 9.7 million by 2024 if three-quarters of those people belatedly seek treatment.
 
Japan is set to release more than one million tonnes of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plantinto the Pacific Ocean. The decision has been met with a fierce backlash from Japan’s neighbours, with China calling the plan “extremely irresponsible”. Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s prime minister, said the ocean release was the “most realistic” option for the nuclear plant’s decommissioning.

Business and economy

Shoppers have rushed back into high streets across England and Wales as non-essential retailers reopened there yesterday. As of 3pm, footfall had nearly doubled from a week earlier, according to analysts at Springboard. Spending was highest in hairdressing salons and shops while pubs got off to a slower start, but takings were still up 150% on pre-pandemic levels.
 
The UK must ensure that it uses smaller telecoms equipment makers to supply Britain’s 5G mobile phone networks after kit from China’s Huawei is removed. According to a report by the vendor diversity task force, smaller equipment manufacturers should provide 25% of the kit used in 5G networks. (£)
 
According to the latest figures by the Office for National Statistics, the UK economy grew by 0.4 per cent in February as tough lockdown restrictions remained in place in varying degrees across all four nations. However, estimates show that the economy was still 7.8% smaller compared to a year earlier, before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Columns of note

In Politico, Maïa de La Baume turns to the document that has become a symbol of Europe’s culture wars: the Istanbul Convention. Starting off as a promising effort to tackle violence against women across Europe, the 25-page document has now become the epitome of the larger culture wars between eastern and western Europe.  
 
In his novel Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro places his characters in the US of the future where robots have taken over many jobs. Writing in the Financial Times, Andrew Hill draws on Ishiguro’s story to explore how the gradual deployment of artificial intelligence could change the workplace, and how workers, companies andgovernments should respond. (£)

Cartoon source: The New Yorker

Markets

What’s happening this week?

London stocks finished weaker yesterday, with the FTSE 100 falling 0.39% at 6,889.12, and the FTSE 250 losing 0.44% to close at 22,153.55. 
 
Sterling had a more positive day, last advancing 0.23% against the dollar to $1.3738, and gaining 0.21% on the euro to €1.1539.
 
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.16%, to 33,745.4, the S&P 500 fell 0.02%, to 4,127.99 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.36%, to 13,850.00.
 
In company news:
 
Amsterdam-based Just Eat Takeaway.com has announced that its first-quarter orders surged by 79% to 200 million orders compared to 112 million a year earlier.
 
Property developer Retirement Villages Group has announced a £2bn plan to build 5,000 retirement homes across 40 urban sites in the UK over the next ten years.

What’s happening today?

Finals

Corero Network          
 Good Enrg      
JD Sports         
Jtc Plc  
Next Fifteen    
Northbridge Ind          
Sigmaroc         
Sourcebio Int

Interims

Rev Bars

AGMs

Good Enrg

UK economic announcements
(00:01) Retail Sales
(07:00) Industrial Production
(07:00) Manufacturing Production
(07:00) Balance of Trade
(07:00) Gross Domestic Product
(07:00) Index of Services

Int. economic announcements
(10:00) ZEW Survey (EU) – Economic Sentiment
(10:00) ZEW Survey (GER) – Economic Sentiment
(10:00) ZEW Survey (GER) – Current Situation
(13:30) Consumer Price Index (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

‘Bubblegum Alley’ is a 20-metre-long stretch of walls in downtown San Luis Obispo, California, which is known for passers-by sticking their old bubblegum on. Despite the city cleaning the walls three times, today there are an estimated two million pieces still hanging on. [Source: @qikipedia]

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
 
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Road User Charging (Outer London)
 
Legislation
Finance (No. 2) Bill: Second Reading
 
Adjournment
Decisions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation use during the pandemic

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Preparations for the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) to be held in May in Kunming, China
 
Oral questions
Improving railway services to small and medium-sized towns in the north of England
 
Oral questions
Impact of new EU visa and residence permit regimes for UK citizens on numbers of Church of England clergy securing such permits
 
Oral questions
Democracy campaigners in Hong Kong
 
Legislation
Overseas Operations (Services Personnel and Veterans) Bill – report stage

Scottish Parliament 

The Scottish parliament will reconvene to pay tribute to the duke of Edinburgh today after which it will remain in recess ahead of the election on 6 May.

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