UK - AI Equal to Humans on Medical Diagnosis

Arno Froese

Artificial intelligence is on a par with human experts when it comes to making medical diagnoses based on images, a review has found.

However, experts have warned the latest findings are based on a small number of studies, since the field is littered with poor-quality research.

One burgeoning application is the use of AI in interpreting medical images—a field that relies on deep learning, a sophisticated form of machine learning in which a series of labeled images are fed into algorithms that pick out features within them and learn how to classify similar images. This approach has shown promise in diagnosis of diseases from cancers to eye conditions.

Prof Alastair Denniston, at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS foundation trust and a co-author of the study, said the results were encouraging but the study was a reality check for some of the hype about AI.

Dr. Xiaoxuan Liu, the lead author of the study and from the same NHS trust, agreed. “There are a lot of headlines about AI outperforming humans, but our message is that it can at best be equivalent,” she said.

The team pooled the most promising results from within each of the 14 studies to reveal that deep learning systems correctly detected a disease state 87% of the time—compared with 86% for healthcare professionals—and correctly gave the all-clear 93% of the time, compared with 91% for human experts.

However, the healthcare professionals in these scenarios were not given additional patient information they would have in the real world which could steer their diagnosis.

Dr. Raj Jena, an oncologist at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge who was not involved in the study, said deep learning systems would be important in the future, but stressed they needed robust real-world testing. He also said it was important to understand why such systems sometimes make the wrong assessment.

“If you are a deep learning algorithm, when you fail you can often fail in a very unpredictable and spectacular way,” he said., 24 September 2019

Arno's commentary

There is no question about artificial intelligence (AI) assisting medical practitioners, and as the article indicates, eventually becoming equal to human. But it stands to reason that AI is the result of human thinking, not vice versa. Besides, only human beings created by God consist of a trinity: spirit, soul, and body. Nevertheless, humanity will continue to strive toward creating something that is literally out of this world, and unknown heretofore. The masterpiece with be, as the Bible proclaims, the image of the beast.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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