January 25, 2017

ABOVE AVERAGE IS OVER:

IF YOU LOOK AT X-RAYS OR MOLES FOR A LIVING, AI IS COMING FOR YOUR JOB (MEGAN MOLTENI, 01.25.17., Wired)

Each year five million American moles, freckles, and skin spots turn out to be malignant, costing the healthcare system $8 billion. Catching deadly cancers like melanoma early makes a huge difference--survival rates drop from 98 percent to as low as 16 percent if the disease progresses to the lymph nodes.

Dermatologists use a variety of magnifying instruments to identify possible bad blemishes, and because the outcomes can be so disastrous, they tend to be a cautious bunch. For every 10 lesions surgically biopsied, only one melanoma gets discovered. That's a lot of unnecessary knifing.

So doctors are now turning to artificial intelligence to tell the difference between innocuous and potentially fatal blotches. The hope is that computer vision, with its ability to make thousands of tiny measurements, will catch cancers early enough and with enough specificity to cut down on the amount of cutting doctors do. And by initial measures, it's well on its way. Computer scientists and physicians at Stanford University recently teamed up to train a deep learning algorithm on 130,000 images of 2,000 skin diseases. The result, the subject of a paper out today in Nature, performed as well as 21 board-certified dermatologists in picking out deadly skin lesions.

Posted by at January 25, 2017 12:33 PM

  

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