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

Has Alexa changed your life yet? Vacuum the floor, start thedishwasher, feed the cat, clean the litter box, order more papertowels and lower the thermostat. Those are just a few items fromthe to-do list I handed over to artificial intelligence (AI) today—and allwithout one manual click or key stroke. Whew, no more straining myindex finger to push all those buttons.

While all of this has a certain “cool” factor, it's alsocompletely transforming our lives. Gone are the days whenAI meant a robot like C-3PO or Rosie from “The Jetsons.” AI is nolonger a futuristic sci-fi hope; it's a set of algorithms andtechnologies known as machine learning (ML).

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