AI are smart computer programs that can learn from massive data, make conclusions, change their working pattern. They can help with health predictions, diagnosis, and even treatment.
Does artificial intelligence (AI) exist? The reply is “yes” and “no.” Computer AI may be quite smart, it may even beat humans in many things like playing chess, but it still follows strict rules and cannot make decisions independently. True artificial intelligence does not exist. Nonetheless, programs are smart enough to help us with everyday issues.
Artificial intelligence is not a new thing. Algorithms that could solve problems have existed from the early days of computing. Computers were made for data crunching, problem-solving from day one.
However, AI differs from conventional algorithms. It has a deep learning ability. It means that by analyzing the colossal amount of data, it can recognize patterns, learn from it, and make changes to the algorithms. AI-based programs can keep improving.
There have been numerous enabling factors in AI. Most important being increased processing speed and availability of massive data due to cloud computing or networks. Modern computers have many sensors too. Progress in other fields of computing has also been helpful in the development of AI, like language processing, image processing, sensing physical movements, and so on.
How AI works?
To get a better understanding of how AI works, let’s take an example of a diagnosis of a hand fracture. A doctor can make a diagnosis by analyzing symptoms and looking at the x-ray. Doctors learn the science of diagnosis both through the textbooks (logic or algorithm) and experience (data-based learning). AI algorithm is created similarly. The program writer feeds information regarding signs and symptoms of bone fracture, creates algorithms. AI can also analyze x-ray images. Thanks to deep learning, it can keep improving analytic abilities, thus making a diagnosis. The more AI system is used, the better it becomes.
As one can guess by know, AI has some benefits over humans. The doctor may take decades to see and learn from, let’s say a few thousand patients, and improve his or her skills. However, the AI system can learn quickly from millions of case-studies already available on the servers (electronic health records). It means that over time, the AI system can better in diagnosing and even treating disease conditions.
An excellent example of how AI can get better than human doctors is Google AI, which can take a picture of the retina and predict the risk of heart disease much better than humans. After all, it can analyze the data of millions or even billions of patients over time and keep improving itself.
AI in healthcare
AI is not a science fantasy; it is already playing a role in some fields of medicine. It is more common than many imagine. To a degree, everyone is using AI, even in developing nations. In hospital medicine, AI tools are more commonly used in cardiology, neurology, and cancer treatment. AI is present in the form or simple phone applications to more sophisticated programs like IBM Watson.
AI and Wellness. One of the good things about AI is that it can play a huge role in preventive medicine so that you do not need a doctor at all. Many apps and smartwatches are already using these technologies to analyze lifestyle, sleep quality, level of physical activity, cardiovascular health, and make recommendations accordingly. At present, this technology is in its early stages, but with time, it will become more complex.
Early disease detection. It is another field of interest, as early detection can save millions of lives. Use of Google AI to predict the risk of a heart attack in the near future is one such example. AI is already playing a role in predicting the risk of cancer.
In the future wearables will have a greater number of sensors, and they will be more accurate too. Data from these sensors, combined with the power of AI, will help predict metabolic disorders, risk of cardiovascular diseases, and other life-threatening conditions.
Diagnosis of diseases. As already mentioned, AI-based systems can learn from massive data that is already available. Systems like IBM’s Watson can analyze the data from millions of health records and thus assist in the diagnosis of many conditions. Google’s DeepMind Health is trying to mimic the working or brain.
Help with decision making. As AI systems can make better predictions than humans in many cases, they may help with clinical decision making. Moreover, the AI system can combine data from a broader variety of sources to make such predictions.
Treatment. AI can help doctors come up with a comprehensive treatment plan. Moreover, AI can play a role in patient education and management. It can also help improve the compliance to the treatment.
Human operated robots are already doing many complex surgeries, and in future, these robots will become more independent from human intervention. AI can do many repetitive tasks too.
End of life care. AI combines with robots can not only take care of the people; it can also assist in living, provide a company, have a conversation.
Research. Developing new drugs and treatments is a very complicated task, and AI can accelerate the identification of new medicines.
Training. AI-based systems can create better simulations, and thus helping train people.
Will AI replace doctors?
It is well known that automation may make many kinds of jobs redundant in the near future. So, the question is whether AI will make doctors jobless? In the case of medical care, it does not seem to be possible in the visible future. AI will be more like an assistant than completely taking over the doctor’s job.
Researchers think that AI will help improve medicine by doing repetitive and mundane tasks. Nowadays, doctors are too busy, and they do not provide much attention to the patients because their priority is to provide the right diagnosis and treatment. However, when AI systems will be accurate in diagnosis and treatment, doctors will have a focus on what they should be doing most of the time, that is providing care, communicating with the patients. AI will help bring back that human touch to medicine that has been lost a long time back.