Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies are using AI to decode the immune system

As anyone who has read the news lately knows, artificial intelligence is a lot more than just an under-appreciated Jude Law film. It is the future of farming, it writes better Yelp reviews than you, it makes groovy special effects, it can nose out corruption, it can furnish your home, and even beat you at video games.

It might also be able to help doctors diagnose and treat diseases: Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies have teamed up to create an AI tool that they are hoping can decode—or read—the immune system. The companies hope to pair advances in AI and machine learning with recent breakthroughs in biotechnology to map out the immune system and tap into the body’s impressive diagnostic system.

If you haven’t watched this episode of The Magic Schoolbus in a while, the human immune system, when functioning properly, is incredible at diagnosing and treating illness and injury—whether a paper cut, fever, or raging hangover. Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies want to figure out how it works, and hopefully, make it work for them and all of humanity. Per a press release, their goal is to “create a universal blood test that reads a person’s immune system to detect a wide variety of diseases including infections, cancers and autoimmune disorders in their earliest stage, when they can be most effectively diagnosed and treated.”

It’s a complex and fascinating progress, and you can read more about it here. If it works as well as they hope, maybe someone will make a movie about this momentous point in medical history. We hear Jude Law is available.


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