The word “diagnosis,” he reminded me, comes from the Greek for “knowing apart.” Machine-learning algorithms will only become better at such knowing apart—at partitioning, at distinguishing moles from melanomas. But knowing, in all its dimensions, transcends those task-focussed algorithms. In the realm of medicine, perhaps the ultimate rewards come from knowing together.
This New Yorker article by Siddhartha Mukherjee explores the implications for practice and diagnostic reasoning in a time when software is increasingly implicated in clinical decision-making. While the article is more than a year old (a long time in AI and machine learning research), it still stands up as an excellent, insightful overview of the state of AI-based systems in the domain of clinical care. It’s a long read but well worth it.