Overblown AI claims #1

AI can spot cancer more accurately than doctors. Are you familiar with this headline? We ought to believe that AI systems outperform humans in almost everything. AI systems outperform humans because we often oversimplify the tasks and jobs that humans do. If we reduce everything to a matter of data processing, then it is easy to claim that AI systems are better at it. However, the skills of doctors and nurses are more complex than processing data:

“The narrative of AI and health is one-dimensional and reduces the complexities of medical diagnosis to a few numbers. Doing so fails to account for the parts of health care work that are less easy to quantify.”

“Google’s algorithm only produces binary outcomes: yes, it’s cancer, or no, it’s not. There needs to be space for a third option that represents the gray area of diagnosis and prolongs debate rather than closing it off.”

“There’s no standard for what constitutes cancer. If AI systems become better at finding smaller and smaller lesions you will manufacture a lot of pseudo-patients.”

“Radiologists don’t just look at images. The job is more like reading a novel and trying to write a summary of what it’s about.”