An AI Ophthalmologist Shows How Machine Learning May Transform Medicine

Google researchers got an eye-scanning algorithm to figure out on its own how to detect a common form of blindness, showing the potential for artificial intelligence to transform medicine remarkably soon. The algorithm can look at retinal images and detect diabetic retinopathy—which affects almost a third of diabetes patients—as well as a highly trained ophthalmologist can. It makes use of the same machine-learning technique that Google uses to label millions of Web images. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to blood vessels in the eye and results in a gradual deterioration of vision. If caught early it can be treated, but a sufferer may experience no symptoms early on, making screening vital. It is diagnosed, in part, by having an expert examine images of a patient’s retina, captured with a…


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