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AI in healthcare December 9, 2016

Posted by 1969mathelc in AI Present and Future.

Being part of the healthcare industry, if I controlled research and development funds for my employer, when it comes to AI, I would push to partner up with leading AI companies that could help tackle some of the most difficult issues that we are facing in healthcare. AI is making breakthrough advances in many categories; however, one area that it seems to be struggling with the most is in Healthcare. This is not to say that there hasn’t already been any AI advancements in healthcare, however, I believe that Healthcare would be the greatest area to benefit from AI. The ultimate goal of healthcare is simple: it is to save lives. Although there may be some ethical issues involved in certain regions within healthcare, there would not be as many disagreements as there is when it comes to a topic such as AI robots used to kill, or even AI used in driver-less cars.

The reason why we don’t hear as much of AI in healthcare is because it is a much more complicated topic. One of the most pure AI components that is today working towards healthcare is IBM’s Watson. Watson started off as a research project that gained its popularity on the “Jeopardy!” gameshow. Although at the time it seemed that Watson had a solution to all problems, it hasn’t been as performant in the healthcare world, yet.  As IBM executives have admitted themselves that “medicine proved far more difficult than they anticipated. Costs and frustration mounted on Watson’s early projects. They were scaled back, refocused and occasionally shelved.” [1] This is not to say that has not been any success for AI in healthcare. An optimistic example is that of Enlitic, a start-up in San Francisco, which has claimed that its algorithm was 50% more accurate than human radiologists at detecting lung cancer based on a test done on 6000 diagnoses [1].

Both the difficulties and successes of AI should be motivation to invest more in healthcare. Once the technology becomes even more advanced and more reliable in the healthcare field, it will work wonders. It has the potential to save many lives in the future, all while saving in cost. The beauty of its success would be that it would contribute in the overall health of humanity rather than simply providing luxury, or even worse triggering chaos/war.



[1] Lohr, Steve (2016, February 28). The Promise of Artificial Intelligence Unfolds in Small Steps. Retrieved December 06 2016 from  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/29/technology/the-promise-of-artificial-intelligence-unfolds-in-small-steps.html?action=click&contentCollection=Technology&module=RelatedCoverage&region=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article



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