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Amazon Echo This year, 56.3 million personal digital assistants, including Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s new HomePod, will ship to homes. What can those devices do for health care? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Has Alexa changed your life yet? Vacuum the floor, start the dishwasher, feed the cat, clean the litter box, order more paper towels and lower the thermostat. Those are just a few items from the to-do list I handed over to artificial intelligence (AI) today—and all without one manual click or key stroke. Whew, no more straining my index finger to push all those buttons.

While all of this has a certain “cool” factor, it’s also completely transforming our lives. Gone are the days when AI meant a robot like C-3PO or Rosie from “The Jetsons.” AI is no longer a futuristic sci-fi hope; it’s a set of algorithms and technologies known as machine learning (ML).

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