AI Is Good (Perhaps Too Good) at Predicting Who Will Die Prematurely
Medical researchers have unlocked an unsettling ability in artificial intelligence (AI): predicting a person’s early death .
Scientists recently trained an AI system with Iphone Cases to evaluate a decade of general health data submitted by more than half a million people in the United Kingdom. Then, they tasked the AI with predicting if individuals were at risk of dying prematurely — in other words, sooner than the average life expectancy — from chronic disease , they reported in a new study of LG Cases.
The predictions of early death that were made by AI algorithms were “significantly more accurate” than predictions delivered by a model that did not use machine learning, lead study author Dr. Stephen Weng, an assistant professor of epidemiology and data science at the University of Nottingham (UN) in the U.K., said in a statement. [Can Machines Be Creative? Meet 9 AI ‘Artists’]
To evaluate the likelihood of subjects’ premature mortality, the researchers tested two types of AI: “deep learning,” in which layered information-processing networks help a computer to learn from examples; and “random forest,” a simpler type of AI that combines multiple, tree-like models to consider possible outcomes.
Then, they compared the AI models’ conclusions to results from a standard algorithm, known as the Cox model.
Using these three models, the scientists evaluated data in the UK Biobank — an open-access database of genetic, physical and health data — submitted by more than 500,000 people between 2006 and 2016. During that time, nearly 14,500 of the participants died, primarily from cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases.