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AI is outperforming experts at spotting breast cancer

Google AI screened breast cancer with LESS false positives and negatives than humans

By Anthony Garreffa on Jan 1, 2020 10:16 pm CST - 1 min, 13 secs reading time

AI is being used for one of the best causes on this planet -- cancer. DeepMind, the Google-owned and UK-based artificial intelligence company is now using AI towards breast cancer detection.


Breast cancer detection isn't a perfect science, as there are a high number of false positives (this is when a doctor or expert sees a mammogram and says there's an issue, like breast cancer is spotted, but there is, in fact, no cancer). AI on the other hand, isn't having as many issues with false positives.

DeepMind trained its AI using de-identified data from patients in the US and UK, where it saw false positives reduced by 5.7% and false negatives by 9.% in the US. But in the UK the numbers were much different, with 1.2% and 2.7% respectively. The AI in question only had access to the most recent mammogram of each patient, but it was able to make screening decisions with higher accuracy than their human counterparts.

As someone who has lost someone very close to me to cancer, I find it incredibly exciting that we could have a future of AI-powered medicine. Detecting cancer with higher percentages of accuracy is only a good thing, but it should worry doctors and experts that early AI (without billions being poured into cancer-specific AI) is already beating the accuracy of doctors and experts with decades of experience.

Humans get tired, they get old, they get (unfortunately) sloppy -- AI on the other hand? Never.

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Anthony Garreffa

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Anthony Garreffa

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games to be built around consoles. With FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with high-end, custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU technology is unwavering, and with next-gen NVIDIA GPUs about to launch alongside 4K 144Hz HDR G-Sync gaming monitors and BFGDs (65-inch 4K 120Hz HDR G-Sync TVs) there has never been a time to be more excited about technology.

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