Giving Compass' Take:

· Although a new Google algorithm has been able to outperform doctors when identifying breast cancer in x-rays, Vox reporter Sigal Samuel explains why this technology won't be able to replace them.

· Why is it important to allow this technology to assist, not replace, doctors? How is technology helping progress modern medicine? 

· Check out this guide for donors to read and learn more about cancer research.

Breast cancer affects way too many of us. In the US, one in eightwomen will develop it in their lifetimes. But encouraging new research shows that artificial intelligence can help with early detection.

An AI system developed by Google Health, Google-owned DeepMind, and several medical centers is so good at detecting breast cancer that it can outperform actual doctors, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature. The AI analyzes mammograms — the X-rays commonly used to check for breast cancer — to determine whether the disease is present.

Researchers found that the AI system reduced false positives by 5.7 percent for US women — a significant improvement, when you consider how distressing it would be to be told you have cancer when you actually do not. It also reduced false negatives by 9.4 percent, meaning it caught instances of cancer that would’ve otherwise gone undetected.

And it did this by “looking” at mammograms alone, without access to any of the other health data that human doctors have on their patients.

This does not mean AI will soon replace radiologists — that’s a common but false narrative. While AI systems catch things that doctors miss, doctors also catch things that AI systems miss. Their abilities are complementary, best used together.

Read the full article about detecting breast cancer by Sigal Samuel at Vox.