Artificial intelligence is on a par with human experts when it comes to making medical diagnoses based on images, a review has found.
The potential for artificial intelligence in healthcare has caused excitement, with advocates saying it will ease the strain on resources, free up time for doctor-patient interactions and even aid the development of tailored treatment. Last month the government announced £250m of funding for a new NHS artificial intelligence laboratory.
However, experts have warned the latest findings are based on a small number of studies, since the field is littered with poor-quality research.
One burgeoning application is the use of AI in interpreting medical images – a field that relies on deep learning, a sophisticated form of machine learning in which a series of labelled images are fed into algorithms that pick out features within them and learn how to classify similar images. This approach has shown promise in diagnosis of diseases from cancers to eye conditions.
However questions remain about how such deep learning systems measure up to human skills. Now researchers say they have conducted the first comprehensive review of published studies on the issue, and found humans and machines are on a par.