Can AI predict when you will die?

NO ONE really knows the exact time and date of your death, so goes the old cliché. Still, that has not stopped medical experts and dreamers on working on devices that can actually predict the exact time of a patient’s death.

While the odds of that happening can be a long way off, there’s a chance now that artificial intelligence (AI) can help people determine if they are going to die within five years.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia recently revealed an AI technology which can help patients and doctors determine when they’re likely to die.

The new technology uses computerized tomography (CT) scans of patient organs, in which the researchers were able to predict whether patients would die within five years around 70 percent of the time. 

The system could one day serve as an early warning system to catch heart disease, cancer, and other diseases early so that intervention can take place.

“The goal of the research isn’t really to predict death, but to produce a more accurate measurement of health,” Dr. Luke Oakden-Rayner, a researcher on the project, told Digital Trends. 

“A patient’s risk of death is directly related to the health of their organs and tissues, but the changes of chronic diseases build up for decades before we get symptoms… Our goal is to identify these changes earlier and more accurately so we can tailor our treatment to individuals.”

At present, this is still a proof-of-concept experiment, however, and Oakden-Rayner points out that there’s a lot more work to be done before this becomes the transformative clinical tool it could be. 

For one thing, the AI’s 70-percent predictive accuracy when looking at scans is in line with the “manual” predictions made by experts. That makes it a potential time-saving tool, or a good means of double-checking, but the hope is that it can be much more than that.

“Our next major step is to expand our dataset,” Oakden-Rayner continued. “We used a very small cohort of 48 patients in this study to show that our approach can work, but in general deep learning works better if you can give it much more data. We are collecting and analyzing a dataset of tens of thousands of cases in the next stage of our project.” (With report from Digital Trends)

 

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Monday, 19 February 2018
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