Swarm AI Technology Excels in Pneumonia Diagnostics

San Francisco-based startup, Unanimous, has finally proven its point that artificial intelligence (AI) works best when deployed with human intelligence.

Unanimous’ technology, Swarm AI, is a hybrid system of AI and humans, which achieved higher diagnostic accuracy than humans or machine learning algorithms alone.

Swarm AI allows networked doctors to work together in what Unanimous describes as a “hive mind,” allowing the networked groups to combine their individual insights in real-time, using AI algorithms to converge on optimal solutions.

In a study that was showcased at the 2018 SIIM Conference on Machine Intelligence in Medical Imaging researchers tasked a group of experienced radiologists with diagnosing the presence of pneumonia in chest X-rays. The results – Unanimous’ technology diagnosed pneumonia more accurately than a group of radiologists working individually and reduced errors by 33 percent.

Pneumonia is a notoriously difficult condition to diagnose and the results of this study could excite researchers and radiologists.

In a world where there is fear that machines could one day replace humans in the workplace Matthew Lungren, an Assistant Professor of Radiology at Stanford University, said the results of Unanimous’ AI point to a future “where doctors and AI algorithms can work together in real-time, rather than human practitioners being replaced by automated algorithms.”

Swarm AI was compared to the CheXNet system from Stanford University, which is considered the best system in the world for the automated diagnosing of pneumonia from chest X-rays and Unanimous’ technology was 22 percent more accurate in binary classification than the software-only CheXNet system.

Unanimous said its Swarm AI technology had the potential to generate more accurate “ground truth” datasets for the training of algorithmic systems like CheXNet, which could lead to future breakthroughs.

Swarm AI’s success is yet another powerful example of the digital transformation of healthcare.  Innovative healthcare startups are amplifying doctors and care providers by reinventing diagnosis and treatment to ensure the best outcomes for patients.

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