Developments in artificial intelligence may soon allow patients to discuss ailments with an AI before elevating an issue to a human doctor.
- During a recent research experiment, the AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT passed all three parts of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination.
- Though ChatGPT barely passed the exam, this gives patients a glimpse at how AI could streamline the healthcare process one day.
- Machines with AI technology could one day make diagnoses and some decisions in place of human healthcare providers.
Why it’s news
The Medical Licensing Examination involves three parts and requires years of studying and practice. Second-year medical students are required to take part one. Part three is typically reserved for post-medical school graduates.
ChatGPT’s ability to pass all three parts of this examination shows that the AI is capable of gaining similar knowledge to a medical school graduate.
Already the medical field is looking into ways to take advantage of AI tools in healthcare. A startup focused on treating COPD, Ansible Health, has been working with ChatGPT to learn if the AI’s tools are compatible with Ansible’s needs.
“As we started doing validation we were pretty amazed at the results. Not only at what it was getting right, but at how it was explaining itself,” Ansible’s CEO Jack Po says.
After ChatGPT took the test, Ansible employees confirmed that the answers ChatGPT gave were not available on Google. The study is currently under peer review.
The AI chatbot’s knowledge is especially surprising considering that ChatGPT has never been trained on medical data, Axios reports.
While the bot could tackle most of the test containing informational questions, researchers excluded questions requiring a medical diagnosis. ChatGPT may have been programmed to avoid giving actual medical advice.
Receiving a diagnosis from an AI-powered robot is still a ways off, but healthcare providers like Ansible are considering ChatGTP for performing more simple tasks—like explaining a diagnosis to a patient in a simple way. Eventually, AI could grow to provide services similar to a general practitioner.
A trustworthy diagnosis from a chatbot may not be in the near future, but many patients already take to Google before visiting their physician’s office. ChatGPT could grow to be a slightly more reliable form of Googling your symptoms.