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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios 

It’s not unrealistic to think that 80% of what doctors do will be replaced by algorithms and artificial intelligence. The idea, evangelized by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla two years ago, is that machines can more accurately diagnosis us — and that will reduce deadly medical errors and free doctors up to do other things.

The bottom line: We’re getting closer to this reality. Algorithms, for example, can already diagnose diseases from imaging scans better than human radiologists. Computers possibly could take over the entire radiology specialty.

How it works: Khosla sees a day where people will have an “AI physician to answer their questions — that will be free. Just like Google Maps is free.” 

  • That could be an app on our phones. But this goes beyond Googling symptoms.
  • Imagine going to a doctor appointment or getting an MRI. 
  • Your human doctor takes photos, enters notes or waits for the scan results, and then plugs everything into an AI platform.
  • You then receive a diagnosis and plan based on the results and your medical history. 
  • Human doctors can’t remember every possible disease, treatment or medical article. But AI doctors can.
  • Human doctors likely would be more focused on emotional support and understanding what patients need or want.

One step further: “AI physicians with human assist like a nurse could do as much as any primary care physician within a decade,” Khosla said.

  • And he has a pretty good track record. In 2004, he predicted we would use our phones for a lot more than just talking.

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.