When not stealing blue collar jobs, robots are becoming Dr. House, diagnosing maladies like breast and skin cancer with aplomb. Scientists at the University of Adelaide have pushed it to a morbid new level, however, with an AI system that can tell if you're going to die. By analyzing CT scans from 48 patients, the deep learning algorithms could predict whether they'd die within five years with 69 percent accuracy -- "broadly similar" to scores from human diagnosticians, the paper says.
Luckily, foretelling such dire consequences may help doctors to stave them off. "Predicting the future of a patient is useful because it may enable doctors to tailor treatments to the individual," lead author Dr. Luke Oakden-Rayner told the University of Adelaide. "Instead of focusing on diagnosing diseases, the automated systems can predict medical outcomes in a way that doctors are not trained to do, by incorporating large volumes of data and detecting subtle patterns."
For this study, the system was looking for things like emphysema, an enlarged heart and vascular conditions like blood clotting.The deep learning system was trained to analyze over 16,000 image features that could indicate signs of disease in those organs. Machines have become adept at it surprisingly quickly, even though it's "something that requires extensive training for human experts," said Oakden-Rayner.