Will Artificial Intelligence Have a Place in Medicine?
Not all that long ago, artificial intelligence (or AI) was a thing of science fiction, envisioned only by daydreamers and sci-fi aficionados. Back then, we wouldn’t have thought that AI would have carved out a role in so many areas of modern production and industry. With as much data as we enter into the digital sphere, we need to find new and innovative ways to access, store and retrieve such information. This is where artificial intelligence could very well find its role in the medical field.
AI Algorithms That Already Show Immense Promise
In response to the demand for a more streamlined process of dealing with digitally-stored medical data, some companies have already jumped at the chance to produce AI algorithms that can assist hospitals and other medical institutions. First, let’s look at IBM’s Medical Sieve.
The Medical Sieve algorithm serves the purpose of reading radiology and cardiology imagery. Medical Sieve can detect anomalies that indicate health concerns, which allows for the possibility of allowing radiologists and cardiologists to spend more time focusing on truly complex and more challenging medical cases.
Another invention to come from IBM is Watson, an algorithm that assists oncologists by reading through structured and unstructured medical data regarding a patient’s case. This essentially allows it to create an evidence-based plan of treatment for an oncologist’s patient.
The brain-child of Google’s AI department is in its beginning stages of development, but it shows great promise in providing more efficient and higher quality care to patients by mining the records maintained in the hospital’s system. Google has paired with the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to the goal of assisting eye health patients.
Other Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine
The three endeavors outlined above are just the tip of the iceberg. Other companies are working toward implementing AI algorithms into pretty much every aspect of healthcare. From the creation of drugs by making patient trials more efficient, to supporting patients with serious chronic conditions in-between doctor’s visits, there is no arm of medicine that AI isn’t reaching for.
The biggest hurdle that stands in the way of progressing AI into the medical field has little to nothing to do with the abilities of human innovation. What stands to hinder progress more than anything is the human fear of artificial technology. However, these scaled-down AI algorithms are nothing like the sentient-seeming AI monsters of sci-fi that become so sophisticated that they try to take humans down. When responsibility and the utmost caution are utilized to improve lives through the application of artificial intelligence, the good will outweigh the perceived bad.