A.I. Versus M.D.

May 7, 2017

AI v MD by @DrSidMukherjee http://www.NewYorker.com/magazine/2017/04/03/ai-versus-md great progress finding skin #cancer. Eventually, continuous monitoring via iPhone pics

“In June, 2015, Thrun’s team began to test what the machine had learned from the master set of images by presenting it with a “validation set”: some fourteen thousand images that had been diagnosed by dermatologists (although not necessarily by biopsy). Could the system correctly classify the images into three diagnostic categories—benign lesions, malignant lesions, and non-cancerous growths? The system got the answer right seventy-two per cent of the time. …Two board-certified dermatologists who were tested alongside did worse: they got the answer correct sixty-six per cent of the time.

“There’s one rather profound thing about the network that wasn’t fully emphasized in the paper,” Thrun told me. In the first iteration of the study, he and the team had started with a totally naïve neural network. But they found that if they began with a neural network that had already been trained to recognize some unrelated feature (dogs versus cats, say) it learned faster and better. Perhaps our brains function similarly. Those mind-numbing exercises in high school—factoring polynomials, conjugating verbs, memorizing the periodic table—were possibly the opposite: mind-sensitizing.”