Artificial intelligence is still coming for rads’ jobs—or was it ever?

Technology futurists continue to predict the doomsday scenario of artificial intelligence rising to steal medical diagnosticians’ jobs right out from under them.

Last week a Wired science writer weighed in, highlighting a study published online Jan. 25 in Nature. The new research demonstrated a deep-learning algorithm capable of identifying skin cancers as consistently as did 21 board-certified dermatologists.

“It was definitely an incremental process, but it was exciting to see [the algorithm] slowly be able to actually do better than us at classifying these lesions,” Roberto Novoa, MD, a Stanford dermatologist, says in the Wired article.

The piece also mentions a neural network that can find metastatic breast cancers and an imaging-based cardiology application, recently cleared by the FDA, that uses AI to quantify blood flowing through the heart.

On a hopeful-to-humans note, the article quotes the influential medical mind of Eric Topol, MD, who sees AI not so much replacing as displacing rads and paths so they can get on with other things.

In this Topol echoes some perspective offered by Keith Dreyer, DO, PhD, at last year’s RSNA. “We should use AI to expand our diagnostic and clinical roles, serving as our patients’ trusted advisor,” Dreyer said.

Click below to read the Wired article (and enjoy the zingy headline):