Big pharma is warming to the potential of AI
- But some worry the Terminator is coming
Paul Hudson, boss of Sanofi, is brandishing an iPhone. He is keen to show off the French drugmaker’s new artificial-intelligence (AI) app, PLAI. It draws on more than 1bn data points to provide “snackable" information, from warnings about low stocks of a drug to questions for a meeting with an ad agency or suggestions to set up clinical-trial sites that could expedite drug approvals. Like Netflix recommendations, PLAI delivers “nudges", as Mr Hudson calls them, that are useful at that moment in time. He jokes that PLAI broke even in about four hours, and says the cost is “peanuts" compared with the $300m-400m that big consultancies charge for a project to curate a big company’s data. One in ten of Sanofi’s 80,000 staff uses it every day.