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Artificial Intelligence Spreading into Healthcare

The next time you get sick, your care may involve a form of the technology people use to navigate road trips or pick the right vacuum cleaner online.

Artificial intelligence is spreading into health care, often as software or a computer program capable of learning from large amounts of data and making predictions to guide care or help patients.

It already detects an eye disease tied to diabetes and does other behind-the-scenes work like helping doctors interpret MRI scans and other imaging tests for some forms of cancer.

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Now, parts of the health system are starting to use it directly with patients. During some clinic and telemedicine appointments, AI-powered software asks patients initial questions about their symptoms that physicians or nurses normally pose.

And an AI program featuring a talking image of the Greek philosopher Aristotle is starting to help University of Southern California students cope with stress.

But they say there are limits. Even the most advanced software has yet to master important parts of care like a doctor’s ability to feel compassion or use common sense.

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