Trust CoLab

About Trust CoLab
In late 2019, the MIT Center of Collective Intelligence and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) worked together on Trust CoLab.

The aim was to engage with experts, using an online platform, to develop a set of alternative scenarios about the future of medicine and health care.

Scenarios are not predictions about what will happen; rather, they are narratives about what could happen, intended to open up people’s minds and expand thinking about future possibilities in order to prompt better decision making in the present.

In Trust CoLab, more than 100 experts from around the globe developed scenarios about the evolution of trust in medicine and health care between now and 2040.

The exercise identified one potential development that quickly became quite salient: the prospect of global pandemic leading to drastic changes in health care practices, in particular, an emphasis on baseline care provided to all. This possibility is spelled out in Scaling the Tried and True, one of the four scenarios developed in the exercise.

The other scenarios sketched out three other potential futures:

Dangerous uncertainty. Problems with big data and AI lead to devastating healthcare failures, and unequal distribution of access leads to a fragmentation of trust.

A world of difference. Successful application of big data and AI leads to rapid medical advances informed by genetic information. But disparities in access perpetuate a “haves” versus “have nots” dynamic.

Solving tomorrow’s problems. Advances in big data and AI help create effective, inexpensive genetic diagnostic tools and treatments that are broadly distributed.

More detail on the four scenarios is provided in the diagram below.



To learn more
Read the Trust or Consequences report on the Trust CoLab exercise, which describes the drivers of change that will shape the future, the four scenarios, and their implications.

To learn more about the project and the approach we took, visit the Trust CoLab web site.

Read a Devex article on implications of the scenarios for low- and middle-income countries.

Read a Home Health Care News article on the ‘Amazonization’ of health care.

Watch videos that describe some implications of the scenarios for Global Health, Robots, and The Future of Medicine.