AI might soon tell you if you are going to die soon. Pictured: Local resident Wu Wenyong, diagnosed with cancer, lies on a bed at the hospital in Yunnan province, China, January 10, 2012. Reuters

Artificial intelligence has been making huge strides in recent years, whether it is in the field of robotics of smartphone technology. But, one field that could benefit largely from AI is medicine and early disease detection.

Scientists working at the University of Adelaide however, have created an AI system that will let you know if you are going to die soon.

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“Predicting the future of a patient is useful because it may enable doctors to tailor treatments to the individual. The accurate assessment of biological age and the prediction of a patient’s longevity has so far been limited by doctors’ inability to look inside the body and measure the health of each organ. Our research has investigated the use of ‘deep learning’, a technique where computer systems can learn how to understand and analyse image,” Dr Luke Oakden-Rayner, a radiologist and a doctoral candidate with the university told the Nature Magazine Thursday.

Computers, using artificial intelligence, will examine images of a patient’s organs and analyze them to determine their lifespan. The algorithm could predict with 69 percent accuracy if a patient would die within five years, in comparison to similar predictions by human doctors. The concept is still being studied as it is not known yet what the computers which metrics the computers considered while making the calculation.

“Although for this study only a small sample of patients was used, our research suggests that the computer has learnt to recognise the complex imaging appearances of diseases, something that requires extensive training for human experts,” Dr. Oakden-Rayner said.

The system could be particularly helpful in diagnosing chronic diseases since it will be able to look at such data differently from the way doctors do. It could also incorporate large volumes of data and detect patters that originate over them.

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While the preliminary research spanned to the image analysis of the CT scans of 48 patients, it will expand to looking at tens of thousands of patients in the next stage.

AI based image analysis is reaching new frontiers in medical technology and might help in early detection of serious diseases. It could also help doctors diagnose conditions such as the onset of heart attacks earlier. This isn’t the first time artificial intelligence, deep learning and machine learning has been explored in the medical field. According to a study published in the Science Magazine in April, machine-learning capable computers can diagnose heart attacks better than standard medical guidelines as it would incorporate factors such as other diseases and lifestyle factors.

The Allen Institute for Cell Science has made an image analyzer which looks at the images of cellular structure to diagnose variations in cell layouts, which could in turn help diagnose diseases such as cancer better.