Friday, April 13, 2012

Artificial Intelligence and Diagnostic Radiology

"Artificial intelligence and diagnostic radiology: Not quite ready to welcome our computer overlords"

Interesting article from one of my trade journals. One excerpt:
For those of you who are wondering whether radiologists will soon be replaced by artificial intelligence systems, such as Watson or Siri, there is encouraging news. It turns out that while these systems can do a fairly good job with extraction and analysis of structured and even unstructured text-based data, they still are at a surprisingly primitive level in their evaluation of images.

Koch and Tononi published an article in Scientific American, suggesting that the ultimate test of "conscious awareness" was not the famous Turing test, which assesses whether a computer can fool a human into thinking it is another human, but rather the ability to determine what is wrong with an “ordinary” photograph.

They use an example of an elephant sitting on top of the Eiffel Tower, which might be used in a Highlight's magazine quiz for 5-year-olds as an example of the difficulty computers have with analyzing what is wrong with a given image. The current state-of-the-art in computer science is still many years away from being able to solve these types of challenges, which suggests that radiology may be one of the last specialties to be vulnerable to being replaced...
I suspect computers will eventually take over much of what current radiologists do. It may happen sooner in some domains (e.g., mammography) than others (complex body and brain MRI scans). But it's likely only a matter of time before computers can function more reliably and more accurately than human radiologists in all domains.