The study's first author, Holger Haenssle of the University of Heidelberg, said that the CNN missed fewer melanomas, "meaning it had higher sensitivity than the dermatologists". He added that it misdiagnosed fewer benign moles as malignant melanoma, which would ultimately result in less unnecessary surgery.
The AI was taught to distinguish dangerous skin lesions from benign ones after being shown more than 100,000 images. According to the team, the system will make early diagnosis of skin cancer faster and easier, helping doctors to intervene before the disease spreads. While the AI is still undergoing testing, and will likely be restricted to professional use initially, it's the sort of thing that could end up in the consumer market as a home diagnostic tool. Being able to check out suspicious skin conditions at home will allay fears and prevent unnecessary trips to the doctor's office, which would undoubtedly have a beneficial impact on healthcare systems globally.