With help from this AI assistant, doctors can diagnose breast cancer with near perfect accuracy

ai breast cancer mammogram 0001
Physicians are pretty damn good at detecting breast cancer, but they certainly aren’t perfect. Human pathologists can accurately identify the disease with 96 percent accuracy by reviewing breast biopsy samples, without even coming in contact with the patient. That’s an impressive rate, given that cancer misdiagnosis can occur up to 28 percent of the time, according to healthcare journal BMJ Quality and Safety.

But why settle for impressiveness when we can aim for perfection?

That’s the question asked by a team of scientists, who’ve trained an artificial intelligence system to detect breast cancer with near-human accuracy. The researchers from Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) entered their system into a competition at the International Symposium of Biomedical Imaging, walked away with a couple awards, and recently published their study online.

“We think AI has tremendous potential to improve health care, by enabling the construction of diagnostic tools to make diagnoses that are more accurate, more reproducible, and more predictive,” study co-author Andrew Beck of BIDMC told Digital Trends. “We hope these tools enable physicians to more effectively match patients to the right therapies.”

The researchers trained their system on 300 slides of lymph node biopsies, half of which contained cancerous tissue and half of which did not. A human pathologist circled each region that contained cancer and the researchers fed these images to their AI. Once the system reviewed all 300 slides, they showed it millions more with cancerous and normal patches of lymph nodes, rehashing the images that the system struggled to analyze.

The result was an AI that could detect breast cancer with 92 percent accuracy. That’s a few percentage points short of the average pathologist but, here’s the thing, when the researchers combined their AI’s efforts with pathologists’, they could identify breast cancer with 99.5 percent accuracy.

In this case, when AI and pathologists work in conjunction, their detection nears perfection. Still, Beck sees room for improvement. “I hope to see the model performance continue to improve at this task as well as other tasks in cancer pathology,” he said, “and in parallel I hope new systems and processes are developed to enable implementation of these tools in the clinical workflow.”

That is, the AI has a lot of training ahead of it, as Beck and his team intend to feed it larger and more diverse datasets, while refining the way pathologists engage with the emerging technology.

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Smart Home

Power through your afternoon slump with the best espresso machines

Brew professional-style espresso drinks and become the envy of your neighborhood with one of the best espresso machines on the planet. We have options across a range of price points, perfect for any budget.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Gaming

How to parry your way to perfect grades and quicker takedowns in Cuphead

One of Cuphead's integral moves can get lost in the chaos if you aren't diligent. Parrying boss attacks not only helps you fill your super meter quicker, but it's also the only way to earn those elusive perfect grades.
Emerging Tech

How MIT hacked horticulture to cultivate a hyper-flavorful basil plant

At MIT, Caleb Harper used his personal food computers to alter the climate in which he grew basil. Exposing it light for 24 hours a day changed the flavor profile of the plant, making it spicier and stronger.
Emerging Tech

Sweden is building a road that recharges electric buses that drive over it

The Swedish transport administration is exploring special roads which will charge vehicles’ batteries as they drive over them. It will test the idea with a short sample stretch of road.
Emerging Tech

Scientists manage to 3D print an actual heart using human cells

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have achieved a world-first by 3D printing a small-scale heart, complete with blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers. Here's why that's so exciting.
Emerging Tech

Drown out noisy neighbors and rest easy with these white noise machines

Some people are more sensitive to sound during sleep than others. Luckily, there are a number of white noise machines on the market to mask the noise. Here are our five of our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and others that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

Watch a pack of SpotMini robot dogs perform a terrifying feat of strength

Boston Dynamics' SpotMini robotic dog is now going around in packs, and the results are somewhat concerning. Check out the video to see what kind of shenanigans 10 of them got up to recently ...
Emerging Tech

Notre Dame fire: How drones and a robot called Colossus helped limit the damage

The fire that devastated the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday shocked many around the world. In a bid to prevent even worse damage to the structure, Paris firefighters opted to deploy drones and a robot called Colossus.
Emerging Tech

New gunfire-detection system alerts police of shooters in seconds, not minutes

The Safe Zone Gunfire Detector is a fast gunfire-detection system that could help avert potential tragedies in public places like schools, malls, or anywhere a mass shooting might occur.
Emerging Tech

NASA chooses a special spot for its next crewed moon landing

Following the U.S. government's announcement last month of a desire to see American astronauts set foot on the moon again in the next five years, NASA has revealed a location on the lunar surface where it would most like to land.
Emerging Tech

Adidas has created a running shoe that’s made to be remade

Adidas has unveiled the Futurecraft Loop running shoe that it claims is the first performance footwear to be 100% recyclable. The shoe is the latest green initiative by the sportswear company and will go on sale in 2021.