• The last breath of Homo Deus
  • Dick Cheney and his private pacemaker

One of the books I most enjoyed in recent years was Yuval Harari’s Sapiens — an immensely satisfying spin through 75,000 years of human history from great and lesser apes to the information age.

This week I listened to Harari discuss his latest book Homo Deus. His new thesis: we are among the last generations of homo sapiens. Over the course of the 21st century, humans will be completely transformed as we hitch our fate to machines that will know us better than we know ourselves.

In a sense, says Harari, humans are nothing but data-processing machines and by manipulating data we have been able to exercise a degree of control over our fate, only now we are designing algorithms that surpass us and the project of modernity is passing to these vast data-crunching networks. That noise you hear is the high pitch whistle of an immediate but unrecognisable future.

It’s a theme we discussed this week on our podcast about Computerised Medicine. In short…

We are collecting vast streams of data on blood, heart pressure, cells and DNA to diagnose medical conditions…

It’s helping us to develop early warning systems for chronic conditions — a hugely addressable market…

People are beginning to trust these diagnoses from the Cloud. They crave a personalised approach that helps them manage their own conditions.

There are immediate investments for your consideration. Two of my favourite med stocks:

  • Illumina – its sequencers and services behind 90% of human genomes sequenced so far and it still has 70% of a market on track to reach $20bn a year by 2020. Also owns Grail, a specialist subsidiary which is in the vanguard of liquid biopsy technology for cancer detection and checks — a very large prospective market. Bezos and Gates have both invested in Grail.
  • Medtronic – the world’s largest medical device company — eg, insulin pumps, pacemaker, minimally invasive lumber therapies. As such it stands in front of long term trends in demographics <ageing populations>, the rise and rise of chronic conditions, broken national health budgets, and the need among other things for widespread patient monitoring in the home.

And today I thought I’d send you a short excerpt from the podcast — I’ll send you the full episode on Tuesday — that points to some of the other companies making advances in computerised medicine.

These include Google, Apple, Tencent and an obscure Chinese company that could revolutionise the way we analyse lifestyles and medical conditions.

Its a short clip — just 7 minutes long.

You can listen to it here

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