AI overtakes humans in predicting death, heart attack risk

London: Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that is better than human doctors at predicting the risk of heart attack or death. By repeatedly analysing 85 variables in 950 patients with known six-year outcomes, an algorithm “learned” how imaging data interacts.

It then identified patterns correlating the variables to death and heart attack with more than 90 per cent accuracy. Machine learning, the modern bedrock of artificial intelligence, is used every day, researchers said. Google’s search engine, face recognition on smartphones, self-driving cars, Netflix and Spotify recommendation systems all use machine learning algorithms to adapt to the individual user.

“These advances are far beyond what has been done in medicine, where we need to be cautious about how we evaluate risk and outcomes. We have the data but we are not using it to its full potential yet,” said Luis Eduardo Juarez-Orozco, of the Turku PET Centre in Finland.

Doctors use risk scores to make treatment decisions. However, these scores are based on just a handful of variables and often have modest accuracy in individual patients. Through repetition and adjustment, machine learning can exploit large amounts of data and identify complex patterns that may not be evident to humans.

“Humans have a very hard time thinking further than three dimensions (a cube) or four dimensions (a cube through time). The moment we jump into the fifth dimension we’re lost,” Juarez-Orozco said in a statement.  “Our study shows that very high dimensional patterns are more useful than single dimensional patterns to predict outcomes in individuals and for that we need machine learning,” he said.

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