Decades ago, artificial intelligence, or AI, was not very well known. It was considered futuristic and unlikely. However, beginning in the 1950s and in the years since, dedicated research teams have proven that AI is indeed a legitimate scientific field that has the ability to transform many different areas of life.
AI Is Changing Modern Medicine
While AI has changed many fields of science, it has had an enormous impact on the field of medicine. In fact, AI has helped the medical community make significant advances in five key practice areas:
Eye health. Researchers associated with Google have constructed a machine learning algorithm that can help more accurately diagnose cases of the world’s number one cause of vision loss—diabetic neuropathy. Results indicate that AI can detect cases with as high as a 90% sensitivity, and a 98% specificity, enabling neuropathy patients to seek treatment sooner and prevent ongoing damage. Perhaps even more significant are the efforts by researchers at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London; researchers developed an algorithm that detects more than 50 eye diseases with accuracy approaching 95%.
Colon health. Chinese researchers have trained an AI system to help diagnose colon polyps during a colonoscopy procedure. Where human doctors only detected tiny polyps known as diminutive adenomas 20% of the time, AI helped increase this detection rate to 29%. These tiny polyps are very easy to miss, and could develop into cancerous tumors if not addressed. The addition of the AI screening tool could help reduce colon cancer instances that may have gone missed by traditional screening methods.
Drug discovery processes. As AI technologies continue to improve, these techniques have seen further, successful use in the pharmaceutical industry. Things like high-throughput screening can be used to identify drug targets quicker and more cheaply than traditional testing. Once data is gathered, AI can help to analyze it and test thousands of new drug compounds in the same manner—saving not only time and money, but lives in the process.
Avatars for depression and anxiety. Multiple experiments have revealed that people tend to feel more comfortable revealing their innermost secrets and desires to AI components like avatars and chatbots. The same seems to prove true for individuals experiencing anxiety and depression. If avatars and chatbots are able to provide a true catharsis for people experiencing mental health issues, they may be able to be successfully incorporated into a full treatment and therapy schedule, allowing people to proceed pursuing positive mental health outcomes comfortably.
Increased down-time for doctors. AI has the potential to perform some of the more mundane and time-consuming tasks of doctor appointments. Things such as note-taking, and film reading are two types of manual tasks that could be done with AI. This could result in increased face-time between doctors and patients, promoting the physician-patient bond that is so essential to quality health care.
While the invention of a self-scanning diagnostic and treatment robot is still a long way off, these AI technologies showcase the capabilities that AI has to impact the future of medicine. When these diagnostic and pharmaceutical development tools are combined with existing surgical robots—as well as the expertise and best judgment of human physicians and researchers—the future of healthcare looks bright.