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Google thinks it can predict your death, for better or worse

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Forget hospitals and doctors. Google believes its AI can do a better job at predicting your death thanks to a new type of algorithm created by the company, according to Bloomberg.

Google’s new tool takes the form of a neural network, which is a form of artificial intelligence software that’s good at using data to automatically learn and improve. Under the project, Google can forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission, and chances they will soon die.

As Bloomberg explains:

What impressed medical experts most was Google’s ability to sift through data previously out of reach: notes buried in PDFs or scribbled on old charts. The neural net gobbled up all this unruly information then spat out predictions. And it did it far faster and more accurately than existing techniques. Google’s system even showed which records led it to conclusions.

Hospitals, doctors and other health-care providers have been trying for years to better use stockpiles of electronic health records and other patient data. More information shared and highlighted at the right time could save lives — and at the very least help medical workers spend less time on paperwork and more time on patient care. But current methods of mining health data are costly, cumbersome and time consuming.

Google’s next step is to test its AI in clinics and see how it performs on a large scale. If it’s proven successful, you could see it arrive at your local hospital or doctor’s office someday.

Doctors and hospital often misdiagnose so Google’s entry into healthcare could prove beneficial. Still, I can see how it could be the beginning of a slippy slope.

Do we want healthcare professionals to rely solely on an AI to determine treatment for patients? I’m guessing not. What say you? Leave your comments below. 

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Bryan considers himself a well-rounded techie, having written articles for MakeUseOf, KnowTechie, AppAdvice, iDownload Blog. When he's not writing, he's being a single dad and rooting for his alma mater, Penn State, or cheering on the Patriots.

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