The recent wave of artificial intelligence (AI) products has garnered attention from the tech community and the public alike. ChatGPT and other AI programs are making huge scientific advances, in some cases faster than human researchers. While figures like Elon Musk have called to halt development, it would be a mistake to take a pessimistic outlook on the technology, especially considering the results it has already produced.
AI has been around in some form for years and is already used in several industries. The potential benefits of AI have been contemplated for quite some time, recent advances are importantly a continuation of existing technology rather than something entirely new. The medical field is one area where AI has been implemented and its benefits are encouraging ideas for future use.
The foundational technology most AI is based on is machine learning, which has been around for years. Essentially, machine learning involves giving an algorithm a large set of data to find patterns and learn from those patterns to complete tasks it has not been explicitly programmed to do. That technology has been around for decades.
Recently, AI models have been built with a greater ability to process information and have been tasked with working through even larger data sets. As computers have advanced the increased processing power has allowed algorithms, or programs designed to set the rules for how AI solves problems, to learn faster than previously thought possible. In addition, much larger datasets are available which gives AI more examples to learn from, better refining their outputs. The combination of these factors has made the same basic model of AI much more powerful.
Artificial intelligence is already being implemented in several fields, including medicine. One of the most promising examples of how it has been implemented to assist medical professionals has been its ability to analyze results for abnormalities, such as X-rays and other diagnostic imaging tools. An AI trained on large numbers of examples of different abnormalities can spot something a doctor might miss, catching illnesses sooner. Doctors are not yet relying on AI alone to make these judgments but rather using them as a tool to better assist them in treating patients.
AI has also been used to assist medical research, saving time for researchers by going through large databases far more quickly than is possible otherwise. For anything that involves sifting through large volumes of data, AI has already made it more efficient and streamlined or has the potential to. As awareness of AI’s benefits grows and more AI tools are implemented, there is the potential of allowing medical professionals to automate more tedious, data-heavy tasks and reduce paperwork.
The use of AI already provides several benefits. In the field of medicine, early meta-studies have shown that using AI helps to reduce medical mistakes compared to simply relying on human labor. AI could help by providing the patient’s medical history and options when determining treatment plans, reducing the risk of medical errors. The application of AI to the medical field and the efficiency that it brings have the potential to cut costs for consumers by reducing operations for medical facilities.
The implementation of AI has produced promising results in the medical field among others and provides insight on the benefits of the technology going forward. Safeguards and smart regulations are needed for this next wave, but concerns should be balanced by the potential and existing benefits.
Trey Price is a technology policy analyst for the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information, visit https://www.theamericanconsumer.org/ or follow us on Twitter @ConsumerPal.