Google’s Effort to Prevent Blindness Shows AI Challenges - (The Wall Street Journal via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Google has developed artificial intelligence, called Automated Retinal Disease Assessment (ARDA) tool, which is trained to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, by reading images of patients' retinas, The Wall Street Journal reported.

  • ARDA is being tested in India, and Lily Peng, a Google product manager, said that "this is a technology that can make a really big difference."

  • According to three studies including one published in the JAMA, ARDA is effective working with sample data, but a hospital in India where ARDA is being tested showed the technology can struggle with images taken in field clinics and stops short of producing a diagnosis.

  • To create ARDA, the researchers obtained more than 1.6 million images of retinas that were each evaluated by ophthalmologists and Google used those graded images to train the algorithm.

  • The researchers are now grappling with how to make the technology work with low-quality images produced by the sort of equipment affordable in developing countries such as India.

  • Google is also testing the algorithm in Thailand and is working on making ARDA work with different-quality images, Peng said, but added that, if Google allowed the algorithm to make a diagnosis from blurred images, it could miss small lesions that appear in the early stages of the condition.

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