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Hunger, Health & Innovations from AI & Blockchain with Madhav Bhat

Madhav Bhat is an expert in technology and data. Now, as the dGen Fellow in Germany, he is lending his expertise to drive innovations in hunger and health.

Maggie

Clarendon

October 8, 2020

Blockchain, AI, and healthtech enthusiast, Madhav Bhat reached out after our report, "AI, Privacy & Genomics: The Next Era of Drug Design".

Madhav Bhat reached out to us after the release of our “AI, Privacy & Genomics: The Next Era of Drug Design” report. Given his interest in AI, blockchain, and healthcare, it’s easy to see why. In September, he joined dGen as a Fellow in Germany, lending his expertise to our research.


Madhav is a strategy consultant, with a speciality in decentralised networks and sensors. He studied Electrical and Computer Engineering in both India and Germany. We are thrilled to have his opinions and insights aiding our exploration of the utility of both blockchain and AI in a broad range of fields. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions to get to know a bit more about his work, interests, and hopes.


Hello Madhav, your area of expertise is data science, specialising in AI and blockchain. Could you elaborate on your focus and your role as a consultant?

Hello, dGen! Yes, I have been in the consulting world for close to 8 years now. It’s been a whirlwind journey.  Be it my days at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) or at Tata (back home in India), it is a very exciting career option. As a consultant I advise companies how to leverage the power of technology and data; it could be anything like.. simple regression algorithms to federated learning systems. 


In a practical sense, I help clients solve their business problems, be it in strategy, technology, or day-to-day operations.


What are you currently doing or focussed on?

Currently my focus spans how to unlock the power of blockchain in healthcare. Yes, it sounds all fancy when spoken and heard, but it is an uphill task.


Coming to healthcare, what really amuses me is the application of blockchain in clinical trials. Having a clinical researcher (my wife) at home makes my work much easier. 😊 😊


What do you think of the exponential increase of AI-based technologies and the requirements demanded of them? What role do you foresee AI and blockchain pairings might play in the coming decade or so?

All the above technologies will reshape how we wake up, brush our teeth, work, eat, talk, and sleep. But we need to wait and watch to see which ones will cross the “trough of disillusionment” and land in the “productivity plateau”. 


As data is growing, we need to think in terms of systems and not individual processes any more. This will enable decentralisation of any ecosystem in the technology evolution cycle.


Secondly, how ever smart the machines become, we will need humans in the loop. There is no compromise here. 


Finally, AI should serve the common good. If it profits only the selected few, then the entire purpose is lost! That would be like taking a backward step from decentralisation goals.


AI + Blockchain? Sounds very disruptive! The simplest thing I can think of right now is personalisation becoming more private. By that, I mean that your personal data is not negotiated for anything.


What area of innovation are you most excited for, and why?

Two topics keep me up some nights. I call them H2 – Hunger & Health. See, so much has been achieved, like flying, Uber, and more and better augmented reality, but still the basic issues are wide open. 


Why? Because these two issues never got the limelight that they actually deserve. Again it's my perspective, and not a definitive statement!


Coming to AgriTech, I’m advising a couple of incubators in sustainable AgriTech engagements, like using machine learning and computer vision for farming. 


Even today, in clinical trials there is ~90% failure rate on entering Phase 1 trials. I’m designing a blockchain model for clinical trial data that could potentially bring down this failure rate when implemented.


We, at dGen, focus on how emerging technologies can contribute to a decentralised future in Europe. Could you talk about what drew you to dGen?

Hours at length! First and foremost, it’s the Think Tanks!

I believe topics like decentralisation need both connoisseurs and newbies for a concrete outcome.

Furthermore, I want take the topics I mentioned above forward with the best of brains, and I see dGen is the right platform. As they say, “the early bird catches the worm”. But, it's better late than never to take on such topics.


What are you hoping to achieve through this Fellowship Programme?

I want to try to reach out to as many like-minded people. Understand problems, collaborate on ideas, and finally, develop something very meaningful in the decentralised world.

Also, I would like to contribute to dGen from my expertise wherever possible and needed.


Thank you so much, Madhav. You certainly have a broad range of interests and expertise in this field. We look forward to peppering you with questions and pushing the ideas driving innovation to the limits with you!


Maggie is a writer, researcher, and editor. Trained in literature, critical theory, and gender studies, they are now exploring the ways that technology is changing the landscape of human interaction.