Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Singularity University Unveils "FutureMed"

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Dr. Peter Diamandis Announces Formation of World's First Forum For Pharma & Healthcare Futurists

In an interview for IIR’s Drug Delivery Partnerships conference two weeks back, I gleaned some insight into the rapidly evolving state of medicine/healthcare courtesy of the renowned inventor and entrepreneur, Dean Kamen.

Among other things, Kamen insisted that future healthcare breakthroughs would result from a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary effort in which non-traditional sciences – engineering, for example – would play a key role.

Today, I am pleased to bet without hedge that Kamen was right.

While Kamen may – perhaps unfortunately – be best known as the father of the Segway® human transporter, he has also contributed a thing or two to “modern” medicine: the insulin pump; the Crown™ stent; the ThinPrep® Pap Test; portable dialysis…I could go on – and on – but you get the idea.

What each of these extraordinary, life-changing innovations has in common is that A) not one was conceived by the foremost medical researchers and specialists in their respective fields at Mayo, Johns Hopkins, etc., and B) each was designed by an engineer.

This latter point is particularly important, and I’m going to linger on it a while, because I believe that we’ve turned a corner in healthcare innovation.

Kamen told me that the “age of ‘experts’” was drawing to a close. In essence, this means that the mystique of a select group with an ├╝ber-advanced, but finite skill set can no longer dictate the rate of – nor impede – progress. Indeed, policy today – as we’ve all learned with varying degrees of pain – does not move at the speed of technology.

In its place, the age of open innovation has at last fingered its precocious tentacles into the final, sacrosanct field of human endeavor: medical science.

For those of us in ePharma marketing who devote an inordinate amount of time to banging our heads against the wall; those of us who understand the concept of crowdsourced care; those of us who question what it means to be an “expert”; those of us who no longer market to – but instead market with – our consumers (you, me, our parents, our children and grandchildren), I bear good news:

This morning Dr. Peter Diamandis, co-founder of Singularity University – an unorthodox and audaciously ambitious venture co-founded with the genius inventor/philosopher/author Ray Kurzweil – unveiled “FurtureMed”.

This new cross-training professional development program focuses on game-changing technologies that may revolutionize the practice of medicine and radically transform healthcare and the health industry within 10 years. That’s right: ten years.

The premise is based largely on Kurzweil’s law of accelerating returns (akin to Moore’s law with regard to semiconductors). Put simply, Kurzweil contends that the pace of change – technological, intellectual, societal, etc. – is continuously accelerating at an exponential rate. In other words, what we’ve historically viewed as a linear phenomenon is, in fact, anything but. Kurzweil has plotted the course of accelerating change over and again throughout history with uncanny accuracy.

The key is that we’ve reached a proverbial tipping point on multiple fronts. We’re on a fast track now. Humankind’s ability to progress is hurtling toward a quasi zenith: the point at which machine intelligence will lap human intelligence isn’t far off.

This means, for example, that in the near future each of us may be infused with robotic red blood cells courtesy of nanotechnology that will work much harder and more efficiently than their biological counterparts, enabling a person to theoretically hold one’s breath for hours. Imagine sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool for four hours! Science fiction becomes fast fact.

But I digress…

FutureMed is one of approximately nine core tracks at Singularity University (there is, btw, a closely overlapping biotech track). SU also covers robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, energy, space, networks and computing and also health policy and law.

Why announce this program here at ePharma, and what has it to do with you?

FutureMed is uniquely designed for physicians, medical and pharma execs, investors and entrepreneurs who want to understand how quantum computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanomaterials, biotechnology, bioinformatics and synthetic biology will change the face of conventional healthcare – both in practice and as an industry. Do I have your attention?

This program could most assuredly benefit from a marketer’s perspective, especially in an age when the FDA is still wringing it’s hands over social media guidance while the world’s largest healthcare markets – the U.S. and Western Europe – use Facebook as a surrogate for the telephone and email.

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Daniel Kraft – scientist, inventor, entrepreneur and physician – who is also the Head of Medicine at Singularity University. Kraft will, of course, play an instrumental role in FutureMed, and I’ll be publishing excerpts from our interview here after ePharma Summit’s conclusion, so be sure to check back and stay tuned.

In the meantime, a detailed press release will follow this blog. But for those of you who may be chomping at the bit, the inaugural FutureMed class will be called to session May 10 thru 15, 2011. Visit FutureMed2011.com for more information.

ABOUT SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY

Peter Diamandis, entrepreneur and visionary, co-founded Singularity University along with author, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. In partnership with NASA, Google, Autodesk, Cisco, Nokia, ePlanet Ventures and Kaufman Foundation, Singularity University was founded to develop and deliver a new level of post-graduate and professional education that helps leaders understand the power of exponential technologies in helping humanity and transforming their industry.

The new FutureMed program focuses on game changing exponential technologies that will revolutionize the practice of medicine and radically transform healthcare and the health industry in the decade ahead.

For more information, please visit www.SingularityU.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marc Dresner is an IIR communication lead with a background in trade journalism and marketing. He is the former executive editor of Pharma Market Research Report, a confidential newsletter for market researchers in the pharmaceutical industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com

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