Ensuring equity in aging: Using AI for Parkinson's disease treatment and end-of-life counseling

Ehsan Hoque, University of Rochester
Host: Chien-Ming Huang

By 2030, the old will begin to outnumber the young for the first time in recorded history. Population aging is poised to impose a significant strain on economies, health systems, and social structures. However, it also presents a unique opportunity for AI to introduce personalization and inclusiveness to ensure equity in aging. Vulnerable populations such as older adults learn, trust, and use new technologies differently. Any prediction algorithm that we develop must use high-quality and population-representative input data outside of the clinic and produce accurate, generalizable, and unbiased results. Therefore, the translational path for AI into clinical care needs deeper engagement with all the stakeholders to ensure that we solve a pressing problem with a practical solution that end-users, clinicians, and patients all find value in. In this talk, I will provide some examples of working systems, evaluated by controlled experiments, and potentially be deployed in the real world to ensure equity and access among the aging population. In particular, I will highlight two specific examples:

  1. Innovating for Parkinson’s, the fastest-growing neurodegenerative disease.
  2. Modeling end-of-life communication with terminal cancer patients where their values and preferences are respected as they plan for a deeply personal human experience such as death.

Speaker Biography

Ehsan Hoque is an associate professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, where he co-leads the Rochester Human-Computer Interaction (ROC HCI) Group. From 2018-2019, he was also the Interim Director of the Goergen Institute for Data Science. Ehsan earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 2013, where the MIT Museum highlighted his dissertation—the development of an intelligent agent to improve human ability — as one of MIT’s most unconventional inventions. Building on the work/patent, Microsoft released “Presenter Coach” in 2019 to be integrated into PowerPoint. Ehsan is best known for introducing and extensively validating the idea of using AI to train and enhance elements of basic human ability. Ehsan and his students’ work has been recognized by NSF CAREER Award, MIT TR35, Young Investigator Award by the US Army Research Office (ARO). In 2017, Science News named him one of the 10 scientists to watch, and in 2020, the National Academy of Medicine recognized him as one of the emerging leaders in health and sciences. Ehsan is an inaugural member of the ACM’s Future of Computing Academy.