Mar 28, 2018

Why radiologists may not be goners

The wisdom of the flock. Photo: DeAgostini/Getty

Apart perhaps from cashier and truck driver, radiologist is said to be the most imperiled job on the planet in the new age of automation. But artificial intelligence researchers say the challenge they're addressing at the moment is to make it easier for radiologists to work faster and with less fear of a bad call.

Elad Walach, CEO of a startup called Aidoc, tells Axios that he has trained an AI system to detect the most ordinary but urgent and pernicious maladies — ones that, if missed by a radiologist, could lead to "a nightmare" for the patient. He calls them "acute findings," which include stroke, hemorrhage and fractures.

  • Once the AI detects an abnormality, it informs the radiologist, who can then decide — "Is it a tumor? Is it urgent?" Walach says.
  • The objective, he says, is to "relieve the bottleneck. Today, there are enough scanners but not enough radiologists. Radiologists will be able to handle more scans."

Louis Rosenberg, founder of Unanimous.ai, is another AI expert working on better x-ray interpretation. He's collaborating with Stanford Medical School to create what he calls a "hive mind."

  • Here's what happens: Generally speaking, a hive mind is created by putting a group of people in front of individual screens. In what Fast Company calls a "virtual Ouija board," they are asked a series of questions, and use a cursor to push a puck to the answer they favor.
  • At the same time, they watch what everyone else is favoring. Ultimately — just as a flock of birds will decide where to fly from danger or to a feeding ground — some compromise and they arrive at a collective decision.
  • It's not clear how this method would be optimized for x-rays, but "when people think together as a swarm, they converge on decisions that get the value of the group better than a survey," Rosenberg says. "A survey gets the most popular answer, but not the most representative one. With a swarm, you converge on the sentiment that reflects the optimal outcome."
  • Radiologists "are terrified about the future of their profession," Rosenberg says, but the hive mind would work only to help them make fewer errors.

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Health

California coronavirus: Latest case has no recent history of international travel

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new case of the novel coronavirus in California was announced on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people had tested positive for the virus, noting the risk to the public remains low.

What's new: An adult woman with chronic health conditions in Santa Clara County who "did not recently travel overseas" or come into contact with anyone known to be ill was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Friday by CDC and California Department of Public Health officials.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Health

Big video game conference delayed amid coronavirus concerns

Photo: GDC

Next month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco became the latest tech event to be cancelled or postponed amid growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: A growing number of events are being scrapped, including Mobile World Congress and Facebook's F8 developer conference. Some, like the giant SXSW event in Austin, insist they are moving forward.