ADELAIDE, Australia — Scientists from the University of Adelaide have created an artificial intelligence (AI) program that can predict a person’s lifespan just by looking at images of their organs.
The research — recently published in the journal Scientific Reports — saw the scientists use an AI program to analyze medical images of 48 patients’ chests, accurately measuring whether or not they’d die in the next five years with a 69 percent accuracy.
Dr. Luke Oakden-Rayner, a PhD student at the university and lead author of the study, says in a school press release that predicting the future of a patient’s health will better allow doctors to work up treatment plans that best suit each patient much faster than by previous methods, as medical practitioners are generally unable to “look inside the body and measure the health of each organ.”
He points to a process the computer undertakes called “deep learning” which allows the machine to accurately read images.
“Although for this study only a small sample of patients was used, our research suggests that the computer has learnt to recognize the complex imaging appearances of diseases, something that requires extensive training for human experts,” he says.
However, researchers were unable to pinpoint what exactly the artificial intelligence was seeing in the images to justify its predictions, the most accurate of which were related to chronic diseases such as emphysema and heart failure.
The next stage of the AI’s life will involve analyzing tens of thousands of patient images.
“Our research opens new avenues for the application of artificial intelligence technology in medical image analysis, and could offer new hope for the early detection of serious illness, requiring specific medical interventions,” says Oakden-Rayner.