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GPs to refer patients without cancer symptoms under PM's new AI strategy

The Prime Minister has announced an ambition to use artificial intelligence to prevent 22,000 cancer deaths annually by 2033.

The Government said that its new plans will see at least 50,000 people each year diagnosed at an earlier stage of prostate, ovarian, lung or bowel cancer.

This could involve using new technology to cross-reference people's genetics and medical records with national data to spot early-stage cancer.

It claimed this could allow doctors to make referrals ahead of symptoms developing.

In a speech in Macclesfield today, Ms May challenged the NHS and tech sector to use data and AI to 'transform' the diagnosis of chronic diseases.

She said: ‘The development of smart technologies to analyse great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than is possible by human beings opens up a whole new field of medical research and gives us a new weapon in our armoury in the fight against disease.

‘Achieving this mission will not only save thousands of lives, It will incubate a whole new industry around AI in healthcare, creating high-skilled science jobs across the country, drawing on existing centres of excellence in places like Edinburgh, Oxford and Leeds – and helping to grow new ones.’

The announcement comes after a think-tank told the NHS that it needs to embrace the ‘immense opportunities’ offered by AI including chatbots, wearable devices, diagnostic tools and automated administration.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Maybot doesn't believe in Brexit but still steams ahead with it and with a crew she detests. Now she launches herself into the complexity of medical IT. What next? (lunatics and asylum come to mind).

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  • AlanAlmond

    Improving the diagnosis of cancer using AI sounds like a good idea to me. How could you not like that?

    I look forward to the day when all complex decisions are be performed by AI. The computers will do our work for us, they’ll no doubt write our music, edit our newspapers and maintain our stock markets, sell our houses, fill in our tax returns and wash our cars. We won’t have to think, we’ll only need to eat, procreate and trust the computer folk not to get up to any mischief programming.

    There’s a weird world coming our way. For certain no one will try and rig the system - I guess we can all confident of that?

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  • Big data - put rubbish into the computer, get rubbish out, just more if it. IT can't even send out mammography invites, how would it cope with this?

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  • This wonderful new world will not come cheap mrs May - how many risks will AI take and how cheap and safe will your genetic tests and invasive investigations be? And how on earth will it be affordable in the UK never ending austerity? How will it address the causes of cancer eg obesity with the ongoing slashed public health budgets?

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  • Vinci Ho

    Ha ha ha , the mesmerising theory of big data , algorithm and AI . Welcome to dataism of 21st century . Clearly , Auntie May does not want to take the lesson of Cambridge Analytica-Vote Leave- Face Book seriously. After all, Mark Zuckerberg walked out unscathed after testifying before US Congress . FB share price shot up against all odds .
    China has now blueprint to use big data to categorise its people into different social classes with the more ‘privileged’ ones with more chance to be successful and rich. People all carry a score according to calculations with big data . Together with facial recognition technology, anybody can be ‘tracked down’ easily within a matter of minutes. Ha ha ha , 21st century Big Brother . Orwell is a prophet !!
    No doubt , robots/AIs will replace many manual occupations, question is how do we define the word ‘work’ , a question brought along by Michael J Sandell in his article in this week’s NewStatesman,’How to save democracy’.

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  • Vinci Ho

    As he wrote ,’New technologies may further erode the dignity of work. Some Silicon Valley visionaries anticipated a time when robots and artificial intelligence will render many of today’s jobs obsolete. To ease the way for such a future , they propose paying everyone a basic income . What was once justified as a safety net for all citizens is now offered as a way to soften the transition to a world without work . ‘ Michael J Sandell
    Aren’t we seeing some signs of this already in our profession??

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  • Just like sending the Army to bomb Despots' countries without symptoms of nuclear arsenals - politicians are so predictable:)

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  • Spend a few billion on our "new" technologies instead of training a few more doctors abd paying them an honest wage for what they do!
    We promise you a job on the board when you leave politics.

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  • Council of Despair

    What they are looking at is the long-term trend i.e. increasing demand for healthcare with decreasing supply (doctors, money, time).

    AI doesn't sleep and doesn't need a regular income - once the expense of developing the algorithms are made then it can be rolled out cheaply and run 24/7.

    effectively we are going to be replaced - I don't blame the tech companies, AI or the government I blame my colleagues as when we had the chance to go out on our own we fluffed it and the reason was we needed to save the 'NHS' - I said then and I say now the price is that we are expendable. Had we gone the way of our dental colleagues our situation would be very different now but nobody wanted to rock the boat and as a consequence, there will be continual workload dump until we are replaced. The logic is simple we are being paid by the government and the government wants to cut costs. Dentists are being paid privately so the state has no interest in getting involved.

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