Google’s AI technology can predict medical outcomes
Crux note: “Companies like Google and other tech giants are going to have a unique, almost monopolistic, ability to capitalize on all the data we generate,” argues chief privacy officer at data company Immuta.
With major privacy breaches making headlines almost every day, the danger of trusting corporations with your medical information is real…
And if artificial intelligence could predict your future health risks or likelihood of death with near certainty, how might that information be used by these select corporations? Invading privacy as health or life insurance companies use the data to increase their profit margins, all at your expense.
Read more from Bloomberg below…
A woman with late-stage breast cancer came to a city hospital, fluids already flooding her lungs. She saw two doctors and got a radiology scan. The hospital’s computers read her vital signs and estimated a 9.3% chance she would die during her stay.
Then came Google’s turn. An new type of algorithm created by the company read up on the woman – 175,639 data points – and rendered its assessment of her death risk: 19.9%. She passed away in a matter of days.
The harrowing account of the unidentified woman’s death was published by Google in May in research highlighting the health care potential of neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence software that’s particularly good at using data to automatically learn and improve. Google had created a tool that could forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission and chances they will soon die.
What impressed medical experts most was Google’s ability to sift through data previously out of reach: notes buried in PDFs or scribbled on old charts. The neural net gobbled up all this unruly information then spat out predictions. And it did it far faster and more accurately than existing techniques. Google’s system even showed which records led it to conclusions.
Hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers have been trying for years to better use stockpiles of electronic health records and other patient data. More information shared and highlighted at the right time could save lives – and at the very least help medical workers spend less time on paperwork and more time on patient care. But current methods of mining health data are costly, cumbersome and time consuming.
As much as 80% of the time spent on today’s predictive models goes to the “scut work” of making the data presentable, said Nigam Shah, an associate professor at Stanford University, who co-authored Google’s research paper, published in the journal Nature. Google’s approach avoids this. “You can throw in the kitchen sink and not have to worry about it,” Shah said.
Google’s next step is moving this predictive system into clinics, AI chief Jeff Dean told Bloomberg News in May. Dean’s health research unit – sometimes referred to as Medical Brain – is working on a slew of AI tools that can predict symptoms and disease with a level of accuracy that is being met with hope as well as alarm.