global pandemic has increased our understanding and sense of the importance of our own health and the fragility of health care systems around the world. We’ve all realized how old many of our health processes are, and if we really want to, we can move at lightning speed. It is already massively accelerating both the investment and application of artificial intelligence in the health and medical ecosystem.
Modern medicine in the 20th century benefited from unprecedented scientific breakthroughs that resulted in improvements in every aspect of healthcare. As a result, human life expectancy increased from 31 years in 1900 to 72 years in 2017. Today, I believe we are on the cusp of another healthcare revolution – one powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Advances in AI will truly usher in the era of modern medicine.
In the coming decades, we can expect an AI tool to develop medical diagnostics that provides an analysis of options to an AI assistant that recommends treatment.
Digitization enables powerful AI
The healthcare sector is witnessing massive digitization of everything from patient records and radiology data to wearable computing and multiomics. It will redefine healthcare as a data-driven industry, and when it does, it will leverage the power of AI – its ability to continuously improve with more data.
When there is enough data, AI can do a much more accurate job of diagnosis and treatment than human doctors, absorbing and examining billions of cases and outcomes. AI can personalize treatment by taking into account everyone’s data, or it can continue to drive a large number of new drugs, therapies, and studies. To do all this well is beyond human capabilities.
I hope that Diagnostic AI will overtake everyone except the best doctors in the next 20 years. Studies have shown that AI trained on large size data can outperform clinicians in many areas of medical diagnosis with respect to brain tumours, eye diseases, breast cancer, skin cancer and lung cancer. Further trials are needed, but as these technologies are deployed and more data is collected, AI stands to overtake doctors.
We will eventually see clinical AI for general practitioners, one disease at a time, gradually expand to cover all diagnoses. Over time, the AI may be able to act as your general practitioner or family doctor.