Skip to navigationSkip to content

Google Is Training Machines to Predict When a Patient Will Die

By Bloomberg.com

AI advances by the 'Medical Brain' team could help the internet giant finally break into the health-care businessRead full story

Comments

  • Also share to
  • David Landau
    David LandauManaging Partner

    “The harrowing account of the unidentified woman’s death was published by Google in May in research highlighting the health-care potential of neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence software that’s particularly good at using data to automatically learn and improve.

    Google had created a tool that could forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission and chances they will soon die... What impressed medical experts most was

    “The harrowing account of the unidentified woman’s death was published by Google in May in research highlighting the health-care potential of neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence software that’s particularly good at using data to automatically learn and improve.

    Google had created a tool that could forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission and chances they will soon die... What impressed medical experts most was Google’s ability to sift through data previously out of reach: notes buried in PDFs or scribbled on old charts. The neural net gobbled up all this unruly information then spat out predictions. And it did it far faster and more accurately than existing techniques. Google’s system even showed which records led it to conclusions. Hospitals, doctors and other health-care providers have been trying for years to better use stockpiles of electronic health records and other patient data. More information shared and highlighted at the right time could save lives -- and at the very least help medical workers spend less time on paperwork and more time on patient care. But current methods of mining health data are costly, cumbersome and time consuming... Dean envisions the AI system steering doctors toward certain medications and diagnoses. Another Google researcher said existing models miss obvious medical events, including whether a patient had prior surgery. The person described existing hand-coded models as “an obvious, gigantic roadblock” in health care.”

  • Ian Myers
    Ian MyersFounder at Country House Enterprises

    The medical debate around AI for health mirrors the debate around well...AI for everything. Can it do a better job than humans at gathering information and predicting what will happen? Yes.

    And oh hey that's what doctors do! Don't rise up in arms yet though, there's a shortage of doctors and AI could help fill that gap.

    BUT, just like data targeting the algorithms are a black box. With people's lives on the line, do we feel comfortable accepting the decisions of an AI, when we have no visibility

    The medical debate around AI for health mirrors the debate around well...AI for everything. Can it do a better job than humans at gathering information and predicting what will happen? Yes.

    And oh hey that's what doctors do! Don't rise up in arms yet though, there's a shortage of doctors and AI could help fill that gap.

    BUT, just like data targeting the algorithms are a black box. With people's lives on the line, do we feel comfortable accepting the decisions of an AI, when we have no visibility into how they arrived there? I'm not sure we are.

    And for sure, Google shouldn't have a monopoly on the unification of people's medical information.

  • “What impressed medical experts most was Google’s ability to sift through data previously out of reach: notes buried in PDFs or scribbled on old charts. The neural net gobbled up all this unruly information then spat out predictions.”

    There is no match for Google, unfortunately.

  • Anthony Duignan-Cabrera
    Anthony Duignan-CabreraCEO at ADC Strategy

    Now THESE are the "death panels" Sarah Palin warned us about.

  • Gerrit De Vynck
    Gerrit De VynckTech Reporter at Bloomberg

    Wonder how people at IBM’s Watson Health are reading this story

  • As predicted 20yrs ago in GATTACA, a SciFi thriller about just that, pre selection and categorizing humans into superior and inferior ones via DNA. While the original intention was perhaps noble, as with everything, a few will attempt to manipulate the data against said individuals.

  • Matthew Crawford
    Matthew Crawford

    This is FREAKY!!!

  • Jun Matsumoto
    Jun MatsumotoM3

    What Google try to do in medical and healthcare area.

    IT giants may dominate medical market soon.

  • Kathryn Jordan
    Kathryn JordanFounder at KGJEnterprises2017@gmail.com

    Only as good as the assumptions. Cannot beat genius humans.

  • James Walters
    James Walters

    With the way companies are being hacked and information being leaked in my opinion think this to be a bad idea.

Want more conversations like this?

Join the Quartz community for all the intelligence, without the noise.

App Store BadgeGoogle Play Badge
Leaderboard Screenshot

A community of leaders, subject matter experts, and curious minds bringing nuance back to how we talk about the news.

Editors' Picks Screenshot

No content overload: our editors will curate the most notable and discussion-worthy pieces for you every day.

Share Screenshot

Don’t just read the story, tell it: contribute your ideas and experience to the dialogue.