The Future Arrived Yesterday

Matthew J. Kuhn, MD, FACR


Appl Radiol. 2019;48(4):30-31. 

In This Article

Will AI Replace Radiologists? Not Any Time Soon

While it may sound like AI tools could one day replace radiologists, they won't. Instead, they are assisting with and improving upon tedious and repetitive tasks so that radiologists can devote more time to directly communicating with patients, consulting with physicians, recommending better therapies, and other more productive tasks. Radiologists will remain essential to high-quality healthcare delivery. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "reports of our early demise are greatly exaggerated." It will take a radiologist to separate artifacts from truly subtle, real lesions. Every patient is unique, and even millions of machine learning examples cannot cover every contingency. Electronic tools will garner experience, but they cannot acquire wisdom. Patient-centered care will become universal.

Far from an "impending" advance in health care, artificial intelligence has already begun transforming radiology; AI software is readily available to those radiologist/early adopters who want it. Indeed, exciting opportunities lie ahead for radiologists to work with AI for the ultimate benefit of patients. Make no mistake: Radiology will become more patient-centric than ever.