PerspectiveGlobal Health

Artificial intelligence for global health

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Science  22 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6468, pp. 955-956
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay5189

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Summary

Artificial intelligence (AI) has demonstrated great progress in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases. Deep learning, a subset of machine learning based on artificial neural networks, has enabled applications with performance levels approaching those of trained professionals in tasks including the interpretation of medical images and discovery of drug compounds (1). Not surprisingly, most AI developments in health care cater to the needs of high-income countries (HICs), where the majority of research is conducted. Conversely, little is discussed about what AI can bring to medical practice in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where workforce shortages and limited resources constrain the access to and quality of care. AI could play an important role in addressing global health care inequities at the individual patient, health system, and population levels. However, challenges in developing and implementing AI applications must be addressed ahead of widespread adoption and measurable impact.

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