How artificial intelligence could transform the medical world

Featured in The Star, May 9, 2016

Artificial intelligence is already powering your Google searches, your Netflix recommendations, and your smartphone’s virtual assistant. It is playing humans at complex, intuitive games like Go, and it is beating them.

Now, researchers say, they want AI to power your doctor’s diagnoses, your drug prescriptions, and your smartphone’s virtual psychologist. They want AI to perform tasks that radiologists do, and at least match them.

Machine learning has made tremendous strides in the last decade, becoming one of the fastest-growing, most-hyped areas of computer science. For the researchers who work at the intersection of health care and machine learning, the road ahead is steeper.

“I can say for sure that winning a game of Go is actually quite easy compared to understanding human health, and extending life spans, and saving lives,” says Brendan Frey, the co-founder and CEO of Deep Genomics and a professor of engineering and medicine at the University of Toronto.