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Amazon exec says A.I. in health care is finally moving beyond hype

Amazon doesn’t talk much about its plans in health care. But in a rare interview during a health conference, one of its senior leaders hinted at some areas of focus for the e-commerce giant.

Taha Kass-Hout, the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief health informatics officer who joined Amazon in March, didn’t reveal any trade secrets in the interview with the health website Stat, but indicated that Amazon sees big potential in developing AI tools for health.

“AI is medicine is not a new concept,” Kass-Hout said, explaining that the earliest uses of the technology in health dates to the 1960s when it was first used to navigate patients to the right place. He noted that the past year has seen a massive uptick in research papers that use “prediction and natural language understanding” in a variety of new ways.