Have you ever imagined that Google could assist doctors in detecting a disease? In this technological era, anything could be accomplished and even artificial intelligence could outperform expert radiologists in detecting cancer. We might be baffled to hear this but it is true that Google’s medical Artificial Intelligence can diagnose lung cancer with 94.4% accuracy.

Lung cancer reports can easily deceive radiologists with false positives and false negatives and so it is difficult to detect cancer during the early stages. It is also confusing for the radiologists to distinguish between a benign and a malignant tumor using a normal CT scan, and so 50% of the lung cancers are diagnosed after metastasis. Hence it becomes inevitable to improve conventional screening methods with greater accuracy that could detect malignancies earlier. Owing to the need, Google started training its deep learning AI to diagnose lung cancer in CT scans. Neural networks are unusually good at pattern recognition and image interpretation which made Google believe that it can train an AI with necessary data to visualize patterns and recognize cancer. This AI model produces the complete lung cancer malignancy detection in 3D volume and even subtle infectious lung nodules can be predicted. In the experimental series, the AI was given a task to screen 6700 CT scan reports which contained reports of people with lung cancer, without lung cancer, and with nodules that would grow into cancer. AI was allowed to battle alone with 6 human radiologists to analyze its screening and lung cancer prediction skills. It is astounding to know that the AI beat the performance of the 6 radiologists with 11% fewer false positives and 5% fewer false negatives.

Let us not try to emphasize that computers are better than doctors. Though computers could help doctors with screening assistance, a doctor’s role in eradicating the tumor in the cancer patient holds great significance. In treating a dangerous disease like cancer, seeking help from technology and artificial intelligence is righteous and indispensable.

“We started wanting to push the boundaries of basic science to find interesting and cool applications to work on.”

Dr. Daniel Tse( project manager, Google)


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