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Tech and humans can help each other

More alarmist elements of the mainstream media tend to portray frontier technologies as the death knell for human roles in the workplace.

But that isn’t the direction of travel, tech in the main offers an amazing opportunity to improve and simplify a whole range of tasks.

Take the impact of ‘deep learning’ computers in Anant Madabhushi’s diagnostic imaging lab at Case Western Reserve University. Anant says that though this tech more often than not is better than humans at diagnosing and detecting heart failure and cancers, he doesn’t believe it will ever replace people.

“It’s not so much that we were able to ‘beat’ the pathologist or the radiologist, but rather that the machine was able to add value to what they can offer. There is desperate need for better decision-support tools that allows them to serve patients, especially in places where there are very few pathologists or radiologists,” he said. “By providing them with decision support, we can help them become more efficient. For instance, the tools could help reduce the amount of time spent on cases with no obvious disease or obviously benign conditions and instead help them focus on the more confounding cases.”

Anant added: “I always use the example of Botswana, where they have a population of 2 million people–and only one pathologist that we aware of,” he said. “From that one example alone, you can see that this technology can help that one pathologist be more efficient and help many more people.”

A recent report by Barclays Bank argues that tech will create rather than reduce employment opportunities, with a 2017 PwC report saying they will provide support while ‘removing the monotony from our day jobs’.

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