Artificial intelligence is creating completely new treatment methods in medicine: from apps for the early detection of diseases to personalized cancer therapies. In order to take advantage of the opportunities, good framework conditions must be created.
Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is one thing: On the one hand, we are fascinated to see how computers and machines learn by themselves and adapt their behavior without human intervention. They are getting better and better than us – some days ago a computer defeated five poker professionals at once for the first time. In chess, the brain sport par excellence, the duel between man and machine has been a classic for years.
This potential must be exploited, also in the field of medicine, where many treatment methods are getting better and better with the use of intelligent software. Regardless of whether apps for the early detection of diseases or personalized cancer therapies: Intelligent systems expand the possibilities of the medical profession considerably.
On the other hand, there are still a number of challenges that AI is facing. Is it ethical to listen to a machine on sensitive life and death issues? What framework do we provide so that technology always serves people – and not the other way around?
Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek has now discussed these and similar questions with experts. Specifically, it was about how AI can support medicine.
Here is a summary of the most important questions and answers for AI in medicine 2020
Where are the possibilities of AI in medicine?
AI means a whole range of methods and technologies – which is why the fields of application for artificial intelligence are very broad and diverse. AI can provide us with excellent support in many areas. Be it in everyday life, with scientific questions or in operational processes. This is especially true when analyzing large amounts of data and looking for patterns or when supporting decisions in very complex situations. Let us think, for example, of the evaluation of scientific data or the topic of autonomous driving.
In medicine, AI can be a crucial aid for doctors and medical staff. With the use of artificial intelligence methods, patient care can be improved and medical staff can be relieved. At the same time, we want to secure Germany as a location for innovation with innovative approaches.
A specific application is the support in the evaluation of medical images. An example from the German Cancer Research Center and the University Skin Clinic in Heidelberg has already shown that AI can provide very good results in the detection of black skin cancer. AI acts as a digital assistant, the decision about diagnosis and any therapy is made – and this is very important – but still the person, in this case the dermatologist.
What are the requirements for successful AI applications in medicine?
In all of medicine, data is an important basis for opening up the possibilities of AI. In some areas, such as imaging, data is already available in a structured form. In the area of routine medical care, work is currently underway to ensure that data can be recorded and processed in a structured and nationwide manner. With the medical informatics initiative, the BMBF aims to combine data from patient care and research and to make it usable for different uses.
In addition to the quality and compatibility of the different data, the use of AI in medicine also raises social, legal and ethical questions. Specifically, this is about data protection, for example, but also about overarching topics such as responsibility and transparency. Against this background, the BMBF supports research projects on the ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA) of digitization, big data and artificial intelligence in health research and care, in particular in the ELSA funding priority. This makes an active contribution to the science-based processing of the issues raised and social challenges.
It is always about interdisciplinary research into the possibilities and effects of AI. For example, with the platform “Learning Systems”, the BMBF brings together leading experts from science, business, politics and civil society organizations to discuss the opportunities, challenges and framework conditions for development and responsible use.
What are the basic conditions for AI?
The basic framework is created with the “Government’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy”. AI must be available as an innovative tool for scientists, companies and users to answer their questions and solve their problems. We ensure that the required specialists are trained and that those already in work can expand their skills.
Experimental rooms are needed to test alternative applications of AI. Artificial intelligence can improve products and services in healthcare field. Successful examples are important incentives to try out AI yourself, to try new things or to convert certain solution concepts into a broader application.
The BMBF’s medical informatics initiative aims, among other things, to combine data from patient care and research. This creates the key prerequisites for making this data accessible to AI at all. Be it for analyzes on these databases or to use them as training data for machine learning. In addition to the quality and compatibility of the different data, questions about patient consent, data protection and data security also play a central role.Artificial intelligence in healthcare: past, present and future is what researchers are working at the moment.
Thanks for reading this best of the AI in healthcare articles.
- Amram is a technical analyst and partner at DFI Club Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm .He has over 10 years of technical and business experience with leading high-tech companies including Huawei,Nokia,Ericsson on ICT, Semiconductor, Microelectronics Systems and embedded systems.Amram focuses on the business critical points where new technologies drive innovations.