Jul 31, 2017

AI program can diagnose skin cancer "as well as doctors"

An AI algorithm can diagnose malignant skin lesions "as accurately as a group of 21 certified dermatologists," per Bloomberg.

  • How it works: Researchers at Stanford used an algorithm already developed by Google, but trained it to "visually diagnose potential cancer" from almost 13,000 images of skin disease, per a Stanford news report. To test the algorithm, 21 dermatologists were shown over 370 images of skin lesions and asked if "they would proceed with biopsy or treatment, or reassure the patient." The algorithm performed as successfully as the dermatologists.
  • Why it matters: Early detection of skin cancer is important in reducing health risks, and Bloomberg reports that the AI may be able reduce how many surgeries patients need.
  • Biopsies, however, are still the most reliable "means of detection," and real-life doctors and nurses "outperform AI" in assigning treatments and spotting symptoms.
Go deeper