„Intelligent Health“ congress in Basel – Interview with Managing Director Lucy Rothwell

How can artificial intelligence be used to prevent and solve some of the world’s biggest healthcare problems? 1’000 professionals in AI and healthcare gathered in Basel in September to discuss this very question.

Interview with Lucy Rothwell, Managing Director of Inspired Minds

Your congress “Intelligent Health” took place in Basel for the first time ever. What motivated you to choose Basel?

We chose Basel based on its reputation as a global life sciences hub, ripe for disruption from tech. Local companies like Roche and Novartis also have shown us tremendous support in helping us build Intelligent Health. We also chose it to be closer to one of our key partners, Foundation Botnar - who we think are great! Lastly, Congress Center Basel is a great venue that suited our needs.

How will Artificial Intelligence change the life sciences industry over the next few years?

Factors such as ageing populations and increased exposure to chemicals through food, beauty and household products, are leading to more and new types of illness and disease, and increased burdens on health systems. However since the beginning of time, innovation has always been a source of great hope as both a curative and preventative solution - and it has delivered results time and time again. We have yet only uncovered the very tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible. The next few years and decades are set to be revolutionary in terms of AI’s role in health and life sciences - mainly in areas such as disease detection, radiology and screening, surgery, precision medicine and prediction.

As an expert in the development of AI, what do you define as historic milestones?

The goal of AI is “to do what humans do better than humans do it” or put differently to implement human intelligence in machines and outperform humans in completing tasks and solving problems. So every time a machine beats a human at something, whether it be chess or tumor detection, it's pretty exciting. Of course there will be things machines will likely never do - like look in the eyes of a suffering patient and tell them from the bottom of their soul “Everything is going to be okay, you’re doing really well” (although some developers are aiming for that).

As part of the DayOne initiative, the region is supporting Precision Medicine and Digital Health activities in Basel and Switzerland. What relevance do you see in such initiatives and where can we find synergies with Intelligent Health?

DayOne is a very positive initiative focused on the more specific area of precision medicine - an area in which AI has huge potential to disrupt. There is so much to learn on AI in health, that there is benefit to the community in having a whole range of initiatives from very large to small, focused and intimate.

What role do "Inspired Minds" and “Word Summit” play? How are they related to the “Intelligent Health” Conference?

Inspired Minds is the company founded two years ago with the mission of helping to make sure AI is developed in a way that benefits humanity. The first thing we did therefore, was meet with our key contacts in the industry and start building a global AI community - which has now increased to 32,000 people across 78 countries. World Summit AI and Intelligent Health are the global meeting places of these communities - the chance for the top experts across the globe, across business, science and tech to meet and present cutting-edge ideas that can be applied in the years ahead.

Why is the physical form of the congress still necessary when everything is online?

This question is analogous to the question of whether machines can replace doctors. Computers and the internet are incredible innovations that have revolutionised business communication as much as they have revolutionised medicine. But why do we still make sure the most important business meetings are face-to-face rather than over the phone? Why do businesses still spend trillions of dollars globally on business offices rather than having everyone working from home?

Because we are human - and for some reason, the richest, most lasting, most meaningful type of communication still comes when you're looking in another person’s eyes, breathing the same air as them and experiencing the same environment whilst you talk - whether that be the latest research in AI or a treatment decision.


Your contacts

Dr. Fabian Streiff
Head of Economic Development / Life Sciences & chemical industry manager

Areas of expertise
Economic Development, Corporate Support, Life Sciences, Conferences, DayOne, Precision Medicine

Barbara Keller
Administration, Conferences & Conventions Promotion

Areas of expertise
Promotion of Conferences & Conventions, Administration, Coordination, Executive Assistant