Babylon Health CEO Ali Parsa shared his insights – and a warning – on how new technology will soon shape our society
AI was a hot topic at the recent Centuro Global Expansion conference. We launched our partnership with GTN to deliver an AI-powered one-stop shop for global expansion compliance. Satalia's CEO Daniel Hulme spoke on AI use cases, ethics, and adoption. And keynote speaker Ali Parsa, CEO of digital-healthcare leader Babylon Health, shared his own thoughts on where AI technology will take us.
Referring to worker concerns about AI taking jobs, Ali said: “The politically correct answer is “absolutely do not worry, it just enhances your role.” I think that’s complete nonsense. I think it will eventually replace a lot of the roles. I think it has the possibility of creating huge displacements in our economy.
“I think it also has [the] massive possibility of creating huge, at scale industrial-sized misinformation that can dislodge the way our society is. Imagine making films of our politicians doing something really wrong and making it look so believable and distributing it widely through social media.
“This AI that we’re unleashing at the very least will fundamentally displace big chunks of our economy and will create significant economic instability… [but] in any difficulty there is also an opportunity…. there will be people like OpenAI who will create businesses out of nothing and will do fantastically well out of it, but let’s just have no illusion about this; there will be businesses that will collapse.”
The Centuro Global Expansion Conference demonstrated how new technology can unlock incredible benefits for humankind, including in health outcomes, efficiency, and understanding.
Ali spoke of how he came to concentrate on health tech after his own experiences of health services as a new father and while undergoing a series of knee surgeries.
He said: “My first child was born and I decided that I was going to become a full-time dad and six months of ‘ga ga goo goo’ later I decided that was the hardest job on the planet.”
As he progressed with his surgeries Ali began to evaluate how people interact with healthcare systems. He said: “By the time we get people into a hospital its almost too late. It’s kind of what we used to do with our cars. We used to drive them until they broke down. We took them to mechanics and the garage fixed it. And we don’t do that with cars anymore.
“We now have so many sensors in our cars that can continuously monitor and predict when something is going wrong, so we can intervene early.”
A key dilemma in creating the company was how to ensure as many people as possible could access effective healthcare solutions. Ali said: “The problem these days is there’s no accessibility without affordability. How do we make something super affordable?”
The answer lies in technology. Babylon Health is building an integrated digital-first primary care service to manage population health at scale. It uses digital tools to drive down costs while improving outcomes.
Demonstrating how technology can take the strain, Ali said: “Two-thirds of all our costs are in salaries… if you have to do everything with humans then it is almost impossible to substantially reduce costs. “Seventy percent of all the costs in healthcare are in predictable, preventable diseases. If we see them early, we can act early, we can prevent a $10 problem from becoming a $1,000 solution…. [now] 40% of all our interactions with people have no human in the loop. The incremental cost of delivery — is near zero. And the rest of course we are working on.”
Ali predicted much disruption in the years ahead as AI changes market dynamics. He said that previously “…creating software was very technical, and as a result, it became very expensive. All of a sudden now we have the opportunity of the collapse of the cost of creation of software. And that almost kind of changes everything.
“We are about to see, almost in every industry, a fundamental displacement of everything that was solid, that we took for granted. And for all of us of a certain age, with a company of a certain size, the question is: do I focus on the new, or do I try to pump up the old? And that’s a very hard decision for everybody to make.”
Zain Ali, CEO at Centuro Global, said: “AI was the subject of much debate at the conference, and while there are some concerns regarding ethics and regulation, there was broad recognition that AI will change jobs, allowing employees to work faster and on higher value activities. We were thrilled to hear Ali share his motivations, his company mission, and insights on how Babylon is using technology to improve health on a global scale.”
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