Tag: photographs

Why cancer screening is the last thing you should pick first to work on with AI

Why cancer screening is the last thing you should pick first to work on with AI

I came across this opinionated though informed commentary by Vinay Prasad on the recent Nature article where Google’s machine learning experts trained models to predict whether scans of patients’ breasts (mammogram’s) show cancerous cells or not.

Vinay Prasad [official bio] is a practicing hematologist-oncologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. So he knows what he’s talking about.

He argues that “cancer screening is the LAST thing you should pick FIRST to work on with AI”. Which is an interesting statement in and of itself.

Regardless of my personal opinion on the topic, I found the paper, Vinay’s commentary, and the broader discussion on twitter very interesting and educational to read. I feel it shows how important it is to know the context in which you are applying machine learning. What tremendous value it provides to have domain experts in the same team as the data and machine learning experts.

I cannot explain this better than Vinay himself, so please have a read of the original twitter thread here:

If you’re interested in this kind of topics, I wrote about IBM’s Watson adventures in health analytics a few years back: https://paulvanderlaken.com/2017/09/12/ibms-watson-for-oncology-a-biased-and-unproven-recommendation-system-in-cancer-treatment/

An excerpt from the twitter thread
R Image Art, by Michael Freeman

R Image Art, by Michael Freeman

Michael Freeman — information researcher at the University of Washington — was asked whether he could manipulate images with only R programming and he thought to give it a try. In his blog, Michael demonstrates how he used ggplot2 and the imager packages, among others, to go from this original photo:

To this dot representation:

And this voronoi diagram: