Ever reached out online in hopes of curing all you ailments after one search? Your splitting headache and raspy cough misconstrued into lung cancer rather than the mild cold it really is. It’s a recipe for mass hysteria and hypochondria. But what if technology has the ability to make Dr Google a little more diagnostically qualified? Partnering the wisdom of practitioners in the medical field to the whizzing capacity of Artificial Intelligence is on it’s way. Goodbye symptom checker, hello Doctor.
Using Google as your portal for all information both crucial and superfluous isn’t ideal, but in this modern world it’s a convenience we all fall into. Just a tap or two away is the response to any query no matter how odd. Recent research in fact showed that Google even before the AI facelift isn’t the worst place to get your health information. With 79% of young Australians relying on the inter web for their health concerns, it’s no wonder Pete Evan’s paleo mythology thrives and all consuming banana bloggers rake it in courtesy of Instagram addicts. Instead it’s about time instead of ignoring the knowledge gap, someone sent Google back to school instead.
Automation and artificial intelligence is on it’s way to rendering a lot of professions obsolete and surprisingly the medical field isn’t exempt. That’s not to say you’ll be getting prescribed your pills by Wall-E or having your checkups with an iRobot incarnation, but computing power has the ability to magnify that stereoscope slung lab coat’s ability to figure out what’s wrong with you. One particular researcher in the speciality of deep learning computing, Geoffrey Hinton of The University of Toronto puts it quite bluntly,
“They should stop training radiologists now.”
With heart and breast imaging computing systems already on the commercial market, it’s only years away that radiology will be an automated industry entirely. But just how will Dr Google keep up?
These systems and solutions are popping up across every facet of medical study. Where the computers instead of being taught what to know, just the bare facts, they are instead being equipped with the why behind the fact and thus they are able to make relative decisions from that knowledge. Fine examples include the harnessing of dermatologist’s innate talent to tell skin conditions upon sight or emergency staff to distinguish breaks with a single glance; self-image technology will be able to connect doctors with patients; with Dr Google as the attending physician. The search engine that curates our daily lives with the help of artificial intelligence will be much better qualified to give you the answers you so desperately or with itchy anticipation, seek.
Think about it, your Web MD searches are a data bank waiting to be utilised for a greater diagnosis, so one day you’ll quite literally be able to search your way to better health. So while your local medical centre is unlikely to close anytime soon, nor your doctor likely to stop googling you to find out the truth (seriously), the way we consume medical info and who we trust to get that information from is changing. As a direct response to predatory publishing, where science writing has become a place of commercial sales pitches thrust upon undiscerning Googlers, we deserve a doctor who’s logged on.