My Beginning of a Unique, Intellectual and Interdisciplinary Summer Journey

Hello, fellow researchers! My name is Sachit Anand. I am an incoming sophomore majoring in Neuroscience and Computer Science on the pre-med track, and very excited to be working on my independent research this summer. 

A little bit about me: I am curious, enjoy reading about the human brain and Artificial Intelligence, and constantly seek new learning opportunities. 

About my interests and goals: I have always been fascinated by the intricacies of the brain, especially its intelligence. I spend hours reading anatomy texts and memoirs of neurosurgeons and brain diseases. I am also intrigued by the recent advances in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing and the many ways that these technologies are assisting in transforming our understanding of human brain functions. My interest in cognitive science has led me to pursue the interdisciplinary study of Neuroscience and Computer Science. I look forward to a future where I hope to apply the knowledge and skills gained at the University of Pittsburgh and beyond to successfully build Artificial Intelligence solutions that can change and benefit many aspects of healthcare, assisting providers and improving patient experiences and outcomes. 

The Brackenridge Fellowship: The fellowship provides the necessary resources and time for pursuing my independent research. The fellowship also facilitates interactions with people from other disciplines, working together and sharing ideas on complex problems, fostering learning across many fields of study. Throughout the summer, I will be attaining valuable learning experiences to carry and apply for the rest of my undergraduate school and beyond.    

My research: I am working on my independent research with my mentor Dr. Uma Ramana Satyavolu, on the contribution of health humanities to understanding and resolving Artificial Intelligence algorithmic bias in healthcare for the near future. Artificial Intelligence was founded decades ago on the presumption that machines could emulate human cognitive functions in the future. The early research decades ago on such advanced technologies paved the way for computer scientists to develop Artificial Intelligence systems that now have broader applicability, including applications in healthcare, where medical professionals are beginning to see them as powerful partners. However, algorithmic bias is creating challenges for using Artificial Intelligence in healthcare as the algorithms are making erroneous conclusions that could prove harmful and discriminatory against some groups of people. It is crucial to address algorithmic bias before applying predictive algorithms for decision-making in the clinical atmosphere. Artificial Intelligence solutions need large datasets to learn and perform decisions, but data relating to ethnic, racial, gender, and socioeconomic groups of the human population, are not sufficiently and accurately represented in the modern healthcare datasets. The data disparities lead to unfair representation by algorithms, exacerbating healthcare inequalities. The research project will review algorithmic bias, including drawing on the humanities to understand individual and societal health conditions and propose sustainable approaches for positioning these advanced automated technologies in healthcare.

Why the research is essential: Undoubtedly, the influence of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare will be tremendous in the future as it promises to propel innovations in supporting providers and patients with every facet of the care. One of the current challenges is the availability of highly curated and diverse centralized data, posing a barrier to implementing Artificial Intelligence-driven healthcare solutions. It is necessary to understand and address the ethical issue of algorithmic bias for such innovations in healthcare to scale.

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