4 Medical Areas Artificial Intelligence Will Change The Most
It wouldn’t be a stretch to call the rise of artificial intelligence one of the most important developments of the past few decades. Although the visions of thinking, self-aware machines as depicted in science fiction are still far away, the advanced learning algorithms are firmly part of modern reality. With every year, more and more aspects of our lives are subtly altered by introducing such complex programs.
One area that is bound to change the most is the medical system. The introduction of smart software with the capacity to learn in an industry that is historically almost entirely reliant on the human factor is going to improve it dramatically.
Below you’ll find medical areas hypothesized to be most affected by the integration of AIs, including live-in care, medical diagnosis, pharmaceutical development, or even surgery. Read on and prepare yourself to witness a glorious future for healthcare.
One of the most immediate applications of AI is in the realm of live-in care. One of the major hurdles in creating real solutions to the problem of elderly care is the fact that, for many years, it’s been financially impossible. With the advent of advanced algorithms capable of performing complex tasks autonomously, this is bound to change. We already see some startups using AI to create little helpers for people caring for their elderly parents or grandparents.
This is just the first step. Imagine a wearable capable of monitoring everything from blood pressure and heart rate to bowel movements and sleep patterns and then sending the information gathered by the system to a cloud-based server, which can notify doctors if it detects anything out of the ordinary.
Imagine an AI-based device that can connect to the Internet and use it to ask the giant servers halfway across the globe to accurately analyze users’ illnesses and propose treatments on the spot. Now, if you combine such a device with a live-in carer that’s medically trained and prepared to provide immediate medical assistance on-site, you can drastically increase the survivability of victims. Complications such as heart attacks or strokes wouldn’t be so deadly anymore.
Although these solutions will be quite expensive when they debut, most likely costing several thousand dollars, they’re bound to become cheaper over time. In the long run, everyone will be able to afford an AI helper, which will make it possible for seniors to live safely at home while still receiving the care they need.
The use of artificial intelligence in medical diagnosis is also going to become more and more widespread in the coming years. We’ve already seen some examples of this development in recent years, with several hospitals performing tests on how machine learning can improve outcomes of certain procedures. For example, a hospital in Stockholm has shown that computer programs can help doctors diagnose certain cardiovascular diseases faster and even more accurately than humans.
These developments have been made possible by a technology called neural networks. In short, neural networks utilize machine learning techniques to replicate the structure of neurons in our brain and can learn from experience. This way, it’s possible to build highly accurate AI systems with capabilities far beyond what we humans can achieve (and in much less time).
Medical Research and Development
While we’re on the topic of healthcare and research, we should also talk about how artificial intelligence is going to affect pharmaceutical development. After all, this industry is among those most likely to be affected by AI in the long run.
Currently, when developing new drugs, scientists rely on trial and error methods. A team will design a medication based on what they think could work, produce countless variants of it, and test them on animals and humans. If any of them seem promising, they will proceed to further testing and tweaking. Even after all this effort and cost, there’s still a very significant failure rate, and almost all drugs that eventually get approved fail during clinical trials.
As we approach the era of precision medicine, we need to find ways to improve this process, and artificial intelligence may be one of the answers.
For example, this study has explored how machine learning can aid in drug discovery and development and concluded that “machine learning approaches applied to data collected from such an amalgamation of Internet-enabled technologies, coupled with biological data, have the potential to dramatically improve the predictive power of such algorithms and aid medical decision making about the therapeutic benefits, clinical biomarkers and side effects of therapies.”
Now, this isn’t precisely true yet, but it’s certainly true that AI is already helping us find solutions to some of the problems in the field of drug development. It’s even possible that in the future pharmaceutical companies will utilize powerful AIs capable of evaluating multiple aspects of a drug’s performance at once instead of having specialized human experts do everything one by one. With such AI systems in place, no matter how complex the drug under development might be, its success rate will significantly increase.
Although it’s common knowledge that robots are already able to perform some surgical tasks and allow for remote manipulation by surgeons. A study conducted by Daniel A. Hashimoto and his colleagues at the Surgical Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital concludes that “the unique nature of surgical practice leaves surgeons well-positioned to help usher in the next phase of AI, one focused on generating evidence-based, real-time clinical decision support designed to optimize patient care and surgeon workflow.”
We can expect to see more and more surgical procedures performed by AIs in the future. This way, doctors will have more time to dedicate to patients with more complicated problems while also reducing the number of human errors occurring during operations.
Additionally, advancements in this field are bound to increase the number of procedures available to patients by lowering the current standards for complexity. You might not see swarm robotics replacing human surgeons anytime soon, but you can certainly expect to see more machines assisting them in the next decade or two.
Artificial intelligence is already changing the world in many ways. Its use in medical technology is bound to create a future in which people are healthier, living longer, and more pain-free.
As you can see, it’s not just about consumer electronics and chatbots anymore. We’re already seeing how AI is revolutionizing some of the most important and complex industries of our time, and we’re only at the beginning of this development.