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Software is about to eat your body

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From gene editing to tiny robot pills that roam inside your body diagnosing it and optimising, very s
 
August 6 · Issue #53 · View online
iAfrikan Daily Brief
From gene editing to tiny robot pills that roam inside your body diagnosing it and optimising, very soon our bodies will be software-readable. - Tefo Mohapi

In his now famous article which first appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, Marc Andreesen (co-founder of the Andreessen Horowitz VC firm) noted that “Software is Eating the World.” Simply put, this means the world around is rapidly becoming readable by software, a process sometimes known as digitization.
What is interesting is that, as David Okwii alludes to in this article, soon, our bodies and internal organs will be readable by software. It goes without saying that when something becomes readable by software, it produces data, lots of data.
A small, ingestible voltaic cell and sensor which is sustained and powered by the acidic fluids in the stomach once swallowed. Source: Diemut Strebe
Already, there is a lot of work being done to make our bodies, especially inside, readable to software. This is mainly being done through ingestible pills with sensors or ingestible robots.
In most use cases I have read or seen, the ingestible robots are used to either monitor and collect data on what’s happening inside someone’s body, perform specific tasks inside the body or they are used to deliver medicine to a specific part of the body.
Researchers at MIT and elsewhere developed a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.
What has particularly caught my attention is the work been done by Nigeria’s 54gene, an African-focused HealthTech genomics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup. Apart from being barely several months old and already securing $4,5 million in Seed funding, the startup has identified that only 2% of the data used in Genome-wide Association Studies [GWAS] and research were of African ancestry. As a result, this means that the data being used to develop medicines and study diseases excludes most of the diverse DNA data from Africa meaning that although some medicine might work with Africans, we don’t know the possible side-effects nor do we know which African DNA will it not be effective with.
As such,  54gene is on a mission to build the world’s largest database of genomic and phenotypic (DNA) consented data of Africans.
The unique data sets will be used exclusively for research; to proactively address the significant gap the genomics market currently poses for Africa, using African DNA to focus on drug discovery opportunities that will improve access. - 54gene
The Nigerian startup expects to secure 40,000 biobank samples by the end of 2019. They have said that they are working closely with research institutions across Africa, pharmaceutical companies, technology partners and healthcare regulators, to achieve this.
In effect, 54gene is making sure African DNA is readable by software.
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Think About This
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when (digital) technology is relatively new, it always has a prefix, until it becomes the norm

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9:13 AM - 6 Aug 2019
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