Daniel Kraft poses for a portrait.

Imagine wearing a smart patch that collects all of your vital medical information. Or getting an ultrasound by plugging a device into your smartphone. According to Dr. Daniel Kraft, digital health care is creating more personalized care and has the potential to prevent disease and lower costs. Kraft is the chair of medicine at Singularity University and founder of two medical startups. We talk with Kraft about the potential and pitfalls of digital medicine as part of Forum’s First Person series, which profiles Bay Area innovators and leaders who make our region unique.

More Information:
Singularity University website
Worlds Fair Nano website

First Person: Daniel Kraft on the Next Stage of Digital Medicine 25 January,2017Michael Krasny

Daniel Kraft M.D., faculty chair for medicine and neuroscience, Singularity University

  • jakeleone

    All of this is great, but meaningless if you can’t get medical insurance. And so, isn’t a big part of this whole equation the need to end the precondition exclusions that insurance company’s want if we end mandatory health insurance for all?

    Doesn’t anything caused by the Singularity trend necessitate government action to prevent the tragedy of the commons?

    Is taxation the inevitable result of labor efficiency?

  • Noelle

    some pitfalls: what prevents hackers from getting in? what about medical privacy? and how can you prevent insurance companies from getting this information and discriminating against you?(who knows about the future of the ACA regarding this)

  • William – SF

    Unless you are lowering the cost of health care, aren’t you making things worse?

    Also, there are medical conditions that preclude electrical devices, seemingly as benign as weight scales that send an electrical signal through the body to, they claim, more accurately measure one’s weight, or all airport scanners, …, from use.
    What assumptions are you making about your devices use, and inability to be used?

  • Ben Rawner

    What is your organization doing to bring down the cost of healthcare? These product ideas you are mentioning are great if you have the money? But what about the average people who won’t be able to afford these new wizbang products?

  • Noelle

    It would have been better to have a single electronic medical record system like in other countries, but of course in the US instead we have several companies offering EMRs, thus interoperability is difficult due to proprietary software.

  • Dave

    Shouldn’t we be focusing first on the easy “low hanging fruit” in health and health care costs? For example, a very small percentage of people account for a very high percentage of health care costs. For example, very old people in the very last stage of life who get extraordinarily expensive interventions that are not useful (sometimes because people haven’t left advanced health care directives). Or homeless and poor people (with and without mental health issues) who clog emergency rooms when lower cost social work and nursing interventions and housing could save billions. Or the way we eat in our society (e.g. “low fat diets” are proven to not work…) The hundreds of billions (trillions?) of dollars that poor eating and obesity are costing us.

  • Doug F

    I shudder at the idea of widely sharing individual medical data. If ObamaCare’s protection of pre-existing conditions gets revoked, just getting health insurance will be a huge concern. I was alarmed to discover, after owning an iPhone for a year, that its “Health” app had been tracking all my movements the whole time at its default settings, without ever being run. A hacker has already demonstrated the ability to hack into a pacemaker & kill someone (without actually doing so). And just imagine what a not-so-theoretical neofascist government could do in the way of blackmailing or otherwise controlling the population.

  • BDN

    After an hour of programming and a dozen comments not one word on the reasons and etymology for the name of university Singularity U, WTF?

    • BDN

      If not from the guest, this deserves a response at least from Michael Krasny now.

    • jakeleone

      The central idea is that technology increases the pace of technological innovation. This increase, causes the rate of increase to rise exponentially high. For example, the pace of technological improvement we see today, should be several order of magnitude faster in the future, eventually the pace will be blazingly fast, tending toward infinity, hence a singularity (like a black hole, from which you cannot escape, but much happier).

      Singularity U celebrates this increasing pace and want to work to quicken the pace.

      So that guys like Ray Kurzwiel, Eric Schmidt… can live forever.

      All the rest of us, not part of the elite or not having won a lotto ticket, can just die.

      • BDN

        I get it now, as in “like a black hole, from which you cannot escape, but much happier — that’s what i was looking for, thank you.

    • Doug F

      They did discuss that briefly–you didn’t understand the references, including mentioning Ray Kurzweil.

  • Robert Thomas

    What a cavalcade of buzz-phraseology, self-aggrandizement and salesmanship.

  • jakeleone

    Use of one’s digital exhaust needs to be regulated. Or else the pollution from it might kill the unwitting emitter.

    For example if the data from your wristband can tell the insurance company your are a bad risk. No more, no less, of a robbery than someone using you home webcam to find out when you are or are-not home.

  • Hillary Clintub

    Digital medicine (monitoring) would certainly help prevent a lot of insurance fraud.


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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