When the term ‘cool’ is used with regard to technology minds naturally turn to the latest in mobile tech, maybe a new autonomous car or an internet of things connected device. Rarely would the term networks enter into the cool area of technology. The digital plumbing that holds everything together remains to most a transparent and often forgotten entirety, but one that very literally binds all aspects of technology together.

ITProPortal with their article ‘Is networking becoming cool again’, highlighted all manner of developments in the networking world that is placing it at the very cutting edge of cool. The networking industry basically skipped the transformation and evolution of datacentres to cloud but is now catching up with the introduction, acceptance and deployment of software-defined networks (SDN) and onto the fascinating concept of application defined networking (ADN)

Networking, unlike compute or storage functionality which is mapped to a single box or device, is much more complex and comprised of many services – something that ITProPortal points out – and with their extreme sensitivity to performance have had to wait until sheer computing horsepower has achieved a level where virtualisation of networks is viable.

Thanks to the work in large web-scale companies, Google, Facebook and Amazon amongst others, networking infrastructure can be now built on commodity technology and driven by software. Other factors have also driven this change, such as cost pressure on carriers, business disruption and technology maturity.

All of this leads to far greater agility, meaning that the network will get to a point where the control of it will move to applications – an application ‘tells’ the network what services it needs and the network delivers it, without the need for manual intervention, or configuration from an engineer. Very cool indeed.

Where tech is hitting the cool button constantly is AI, that is something that everybody can agree on. It’s been the de-facto tech ‘word of the year’ in almost all the IT publications and it is moving rapidly into a wide range of industries.

Healthcare is one such industry and the publisher Raconteur posted an inspiring article this week on how AI is being used in the fight against cancer.

AI has many detractors at present, concerned that jobs may be lost or that it will take over the world in some Terminator style apocalypse. However, as this article points out there is a huge shortage of imaging doctors at present, whilst there is an increased need for medical scans. AI can plug this gap, providing faster and more accurate results, something that a patient waiting for results would deeply appreciate.

Not only can AI scan thousands of medical images identifying possible tumours and irregularities, but can do something that is sub-zero on the cool scale.

If a patient has had their genome sequenced, a process that is becoming increasingly common, this can be cross-referenced by AI with the patients scans so that it can decipher the molecular profile of the cancer so that a more suitable and personalised treatment can be undertaken. No more ‘one size fits all’.

This is not science fiction but is happening right now with a plethora of startups looking to disrupt and transform the medical industry.

But as Raconteur point out, the surface is barely being scratched as to what can be achieved with cognitive computing in healthcare. There is no doubt that AI has the potential to transform cancer patient care.

However the ultimate goal of this technology is to take first-world healthcare into the third world at an affordable price, and there is nothing cooler than that.

External Links

IT Pro Portal : Get ready. Networking is about to become cool again.

Raconteur : The rise of artificial intelligence in fighting cancer

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