Second season of podcast explores AI applications in medicine

The AI4Society Dialogues podcast is back with a second season that plans to help listeners explore the intersection between artificial intelligence and health care.

The show is hosted by Katrina Ingram, CEO of Ethically Aligned AI. The podcast was initially conceived last year as a way to explore some of the AI research being done at the University of Alberta, and how the technology relates to different fields.

The first episode of season two was released on Oct. 11.

"The bigger question that we're trying to answer with the podcast is, 'How will AI shape society and how will society shape AI,'" Ingram told Taproot.

"That's kind of the overarching theme of the entire series."

The first season, which launched in January, looked at how AI intersects other disciplines like administrative law, or women and gender studies. The podcast makes a deliberate effort to examine subjects in a way that's accessible to a general audience.

However, season two hones its focus on the medical applications of AI and the technology's potential for addressing health-care concerns in a highly personalized way.

Ingram said the shift in direction was prompted by the strong awareness of health-care issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katrina Ingram, CEO of Ethically Aligned AI and host of the AI4Society Dialogues

Katrina Ingram, CEO of Ethically Aligned AI and host of the AI4Society Dialogues podcast, will continue to explore how AI shapes society — and vice versa — in the show's second season.

"I think there is a lot of interest in AI in general, and just kind of understanding what these technologies are, how they're impacting us in a variety of different domains," Ingram said.

"And I think the health-care domain is something that obviously is on a lot of people's minds right now."

The first episode of the new season features an interview between Ingram and Jana Rieger, CEO of the University of Alberta spinoff company True Angle Medical. The company's Mobili-T device uses AI to help rehabilitate patients who have difficulties swallowing due to stroke or another medical condition. The device allows patients to access rehabilitation care at home, instead of the more time-consuming process of regular in-person visits to a rehabilitation centre.

Without a background in medicine, Ingram said she learned a lot while making the podcast.

"As I was talking with [Rieger], I was thinking about the fact that there are so many things that we do every day as a reflex, like breathing. And swallowing is one of those things," she said.

"I hadn't really thought about people who might be impacted by not being able to swallow … and it really impacts their quality of life."

Some of the topics planned for the 10 episodes of season two include comparing computer brains to human ones, precision medicine, machine learning and mental health, and more.