Imperial’s world-leading experts in artificial intelligence and healthcare convened with technology leaders active in the Bay Area.
Hosted by Joe White MBE (British Consul General in San Francisco and UK Tech Envoy) and leading entrepreneur and Imperial alumnus Wendy Tan White MBE, the event showcased Imperial’s expertise in AI and frontier technologies to members of the San Francisco tech ecosystem.
“At Imperial, AI is not a discipline that sits in only Computer Science, it permeates everything that we do, from thinking about the regulatory issues through to application and how we use AI to really deliver societal benefits more quickly.” Professor Mary Ryan Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise)
An assembly of visionary minds and innovators, ranging from Silicon Valley founders and investors to Imperial alumni and academics, came together to explore Imperial’s leading role in artificial intelligence (AI) and healthcare. By leveraging its world-leading expertise across engineering and medicine within London’s dynamic innovation ecosystem, Imperial plays a pivotal role in elevating the UK on the world stage as the forward thinkers in AI.
Examples of this highlighted by Imperial’s President Professor Hugh Brady include I-X and the Data Science Institute.Imperial’s initiatives span fundamental research to create safe and trusted AI, as well as applying AI to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges in health, sustainability and security.
During his opening remarks at the event, Professor Brady emphasised Imperial’s commitment to building scientific links and exploring opportunities to harness the convening power of London and San Francisco’s ecosystems to develop and translate radical technologies in AI-enabled healthcare and science.
Frontiers of AI in Healthcare
Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) then chaired a discussion on the frontiers of AI in healthcare and the commercialisation of technology, which involved Professor Aldo Faisal, Professor of AI and Neuroscience at Imperial; Dr Michael Howell, Chief Clinical Officer at Google; and Wendy Tan White; Imperial Computing alumnus and CEO of Intrinsic, a robotics software and AI company at Alphabet (Google’s parent company).
Speaking at the event, Professor Ryan spoke about Imperial’s inherently collaborative environment, with research that transcends traditional boundaries. She said: “At Imperial, AI is not a discipline that sits in only Computer Science, it permeates everything that we do, from thinking about the regulatory issues through to application and how we use AI to really deliver societal benefits more quickly.”
"This aspect of bringing regulation into AI, everyone is talking about it now, but in Britain, we have a track record on this.” Professor Aldo Faisal Professor Aldo Faisal, Professor of AI and Neuroscience at Imperial, and Founding Director of the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in AI for Healthcare
Professor Faisal, who is also Founding Director of the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in AI for Healthcare (which aims to transform AI for Healthcare research and is delivering pioneering training for over 100 PhD and Clinical PhD Fellows) then talked about how London and Imperial are playing a leading role in making these societal benefits a reality in the healthcare arena.
With access to large healthcare datasets seen as an essential for advancing healthcare and medical research, speaking at the event, he said: “Over the years, Imperial has been leading various efforts to collect and integrate this data. At the moment, we’re hosting the HDRUK Discover-NOW hub that links 2.3 million healthcare records from primary and secondary care in one database that is accessible and analyzable, so we can really start thinking about doing experiments trying to find solutions.”
“The interesting thing about these developments is that we're not just talking about the technology or the medical aspect, we're taking it all the way to actual application. We've been talking to, and working with, regulators; British regulators are extremely proactive in how they want to deal with AI and healthcare and we've even published papers together about how to evolve healthcare regulation to do this form of data science. This aspect of bringing regulation into AI, everyone is talking about it now, but in Britain, we have a track record on this.”
He ended with a call to the room’s leading voices in the Bay Area’s tech community to consider London as a place to collaborate with.
He said: “According to the Mayor of London’s office, last year we had 1,388 funding rounds for AI companies in London last year. There were 1,098 post-seed-stage ready startups AI in London, and 1,074 in San Francisco. In many ways, London is punching way above its weight, or beyond its visibility.”
The Valley perspective
Dr Michael Howell talked about his experience of practicing and teaching medicine as a pulmonary critical care doctor, before moving to Google to lead a team of clinical experts who focus on how technology, including AI, can help improve health.
During the event, he said: “Healthcare today is undoubtedly the best the world has ever seen and we have almost unimaginable opportunities for improvement through the ability to democratise and scale expertise and the interesting thing about AI is this hope that we will be able to democratise expertise for people who need it when they need it.”
Wendy Tan White shared her entrepreneurial journey starting from Imperial and going on to establish and scale innovative companies as well as her role in the Moonshot Factory (part of Alphabet), which aims to invent and launch ‘moonshot’ technologies to make the world a radically better place.
Speaking at the event, she explained how much things have changed since she struggled to get anyone to invest in her business when she was at Imperial 30 years ago.
She said: "Today, you go to Imperial there are a whole set of clubs, enterprise funds, venture accelerators surrounding the organisations. The key is having many cycles of entrepreneurs making money, putting it back in the funds and that cycle keeps going round. We’re getting there. In a similar way, Joe and I were fund managers for something called Entrepreneur First, and that was about investing back in the ecosystem so now we're starting to get multiple generations of that."
Bright student startups
Five of Imperial’s brightest student startups were also in attendance, as part of Imperial’s delegation. They networked with potential investors and mentors, and reflect on how their ventures make them the future of the AI revolution.
Diana Canghizer, co-founder of Vera AI, said: “As a founder setting out in the women’s health technology space, it was inspiring to hear the journeys of such a diverse group of innovators. At the same time, it was very insightful to discuss and exchange ideas with experts in the field of AI and their vision. My co-founder and I are very glad that so many people were interested in our work around hyper-personalised care for hormonal and gynaecological conditions, which might lead to valuable future partnerships.”
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.
Leave a comment
Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.