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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

56 mins ago - World

U.N. envoy resumes push for cease fire in Gaza

Tor Wennesland. Photo by KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images

Tor Wennesland, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process , has been holding extensive talks with both Israel and Hamas over the past 24 hours in an effort to restore peace, a diplomatic source tells Axios.

Driving the news: The source said Wennesland spoke on Sunday to Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and other senior Israeli security officials as well as Hamas officials and Egyptian intelligence officials.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky told Fox News Sunday that political pressure had nothing to do with the agency's sudden announcement that fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks in most indoor settings.

Why it matters: Emerging evidence shows vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus, as COVID-19 cases and deaths drop. But the responsibility to uphold the abrupt policy change falls to individuals and businesses.