A few times each year, the press buzzes about the latest scientific advance that will someday cure any one of the diseases we fear the most. Nearly every one of these will turn out to be nothing more than a news story and far from a pill that can help improve our health.
We spend hundreds of millions of dollars every day on research, as we struggle to find the "magic bullet" that will rid the world of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. We almost never find the magic.
While the big, historic scientific advances may be what dominate the headlines, in the end, it's the small improvements and better utilization of the technology we have already have that will ultimately lengthen our lives and improve its quality. These technologies don't come from labs filled with test tubes or cell cultures, but rather from labs filled with computers and the programs that run them.
In the future, it will be digital technologies that prevent, treat, and finally cure diseases and not the latest "blockbuster" drug that has yet to be discovered (and might never be). Digital technologies can already help us understand which treatments are best for us, what diseases pose the greatest risk, and how diseases spread among us. They can improve our interactions with doctors and improve access to care for everyone.
Instead of waiting for the next miracle drug to be developed, you might find the miracle was there all along right inside the computer you use every day.
For more info about the companies featured in the embedded videos:
Fire Department App: firedepartment.mobi
Topsy AIDS Foundation: topsy.org.za/
iPhone ECG from AliveCor: alivecor.com
For more information about this topic in general, visit Dose of Digital: doseofdigital.com.
This video was recorded at the 2011 SXSW conference.