Google creates search algorithms to predict the risk of patients’ death

Google creates search algorithms to predict the risk of patients’ death
Angel of light? Google AI processes thought. (Background image: Screen grab, YouTube/ColdFusion)

[Ed. – Gee, no moral dilemmas here.  Can Google program a computer to do something more positive?  Or are we supposed to get a thrill in this brave new world from increased predictive accuracy about death?]

A woman with late-stage breast cancer came to a city hospital, fluids already flooding her lungs. She saw two doctors and got a radiology scan. The hospital’s computers read her vital signs and estimated a 9.3 percent chance she would die during her stay.

Then came Google’s turn. An new type of algorithm created by the company read up on the woman — 175,639 data points — and rendered its assessment of her death risk: 19.9 percent. She passed away in a matter of days. …

Google had created a tool that could forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission and chances they will soon die.

What impressed medical experts most was Google’s ability to sift through data previously out of reach: notes buried in PDFs or scribbled on old charts. The neural net gobbled up all this unruly information then spat out predictions. And it did it far faster and more accurately than existing techniques. Google’s system even showed which records led it to conclusions.

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