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AI systems outperform humans at spotting skin cancer

The AI will see you now….

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) keeps making humans look like fools, this time beating dermatologists at identifying skin cancer.

A team of researchers from the US, Germany and France managed to teach an AI system to distinguish benign skin lesions from dangerous ones, reported The Guardian.

Some 100,000 images were needed to get the AI’s deep learning convolutional neural network (CNN) up-to-scratch. Once trained it was tested against 58 dermatologists from across 17 countries, who were shown benign moles and malignant melanomas.

The AI was able to accurately identify 95 per cent of skin cancers from the images in comparison to the 86.6 per cent accuracy of the human dermatologists. It’s not a huge win for the AI, but it still proved its better than its fleshy counterparts, which had experience that ranged from less than two years to more than five.

It also showed how the rapid the advancement of AI tech can be, given some 14 months ago Stamford boffins found that AI was just as good at spotting skin cancer as humans are.

“The CNN missed fewer melanomas, meaning it had a higher sensitivity than the dermatologists,” said Holger Haenssle, the first author of the researcher’s paper and an academic at the University of Heidelberg, noted The Guardian.

Such an AI system could, according to the researchers, result in “less unnecessary surgery” as it misdiagnosed fewer benign moles as malignant melanoma. This would suggest that human dermatologists tend to over-diagnose malignant melanomas, playing it safe rather than risk passing of a dangerous mole as benign.

It’s not likely that AI will replace the efforts of dermatologists any time soon, as a thorough clinical examination is a safer bet than a clever system adept at image recognition. But such a system could help make life easier for clinicians under pressure and act as the first examination of a suspect mole to provide more information for a close clinician’s inspection.

Some people may fear the rise of the machines or the lack of security in some robots, but a lot of AI tech looks like it’ll lend people a helping hand rather than tear arms out of sockets. µ

Source : Inquirer

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