Homepage / Currency / Why scan-reading artificial intelligence is bad news for radiologists
Amazon says this Prime Day was its biggest shopping event ever Kudlow says President Trump is 'so dissatisfied' with China trade talks that he is keeping the pressure on As stocks regain their footing, an ominous warning looms Goldman Sachs downgrades Clorox to sell, says valuation is 'unsustainably high' How Satya Nadella has spurred a tripling of Microsoft's stock price in just over four years Kudlow says economic growth could top 4% for 'a quarter or two,' more tax cuts could be coming The one chart that explains Netflix’s stunning comeback US housing starts plunge 12% in June to a nine-month low Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110 billion in orders at Farnborough Target uses Prime Day to its advantage, logging its 'biggest online shopping day' so far this year Billionaire Marc Lasry sees bitcoin reaching up to $40,000 as it becomes more mainstream and easier to trade These are the 10 US airports where you're most likely to be hacked Amazon shares slightly higher as investors await Prime Day results Wreck of Russian warship found, believed to hold gold worth $130 billion A bullish ‘phenomenon’ in bond market is weeks away from fading, top credit strategist says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: MS, GOOGL, TXN, UAL, NFLX & more Twitter shares up 50% since late April means most upside priced in, analyst says in downgrade EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Mortgage applications fall 2.5% as buyers struggle to find affordable homes America may not have the tools to counter the next financial crisis, warn Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Investors are getting spooked as the risk of a no-deal Brexit rises EU expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Ex-FBI chief James Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterm elections Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following baseless 'pedo guy' claim Disney, Comcast and Fox: All you need to know about one of the biggest media battles ever Xiaomi shares notch new high after Hong Kong, mainland China stock exchanges reach agreement The trade war is complicating China's efforts to fix its economy European markets set for a strong open amid earnings; Google in focus Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament The biggest spender of political ads on Facebook? President Trump Asian stocks poised to gain after Fed's Powell gives upbeat comments; dollar firmer Stocks are setting up to break to new highs Not all FAANG stocks are created equal EU ruling may be too little, too late to stop Google's mobile dominance Cramer explains how Netflix's stock managed to taper its drop after disappointing on earnings Airbnb condemns New York City's 'bellhop politics,' threatens legal retaliation Amazon sellers say they were unfairly suspended right before Prime Day, and now have two bad choices Investor explains why 'duller' tech stocks can have better returns than 'high-flying' tech names Elon Musk is 'thin-skinned and short-tempered,' says tech VC Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher resigns for violating code of conduct Google Cloud Platform fixes issues that took down Spotify, Snapchat and other popular sites Uber exec: We want to become the 'one stop' transportation app 'What a dumb hearing,' says Democrat as Congress grills tech companies on conservative bias Amazon shares rebound, report says Prime Day sales jumped 89 percent in first 12 hours of the event How to put your medical history on your iPhone in less than 5 minutes Investment chief: Watch these two big events in 2018 Even with Netflix slowing, the market rally is likely not over Cramer: Netflix subscriber weakness debunks the 'sky's the limit' theory on the stock Netflix is looking at watch time as a new area of growth, but the competition is stiff Why Nobel laureate Richard Thaler follows Warren Buffett's advice to avoid bitcoin Rolls-Royce is developing tiny 'cockroach' robots to crawl in and fix airplane engines After Netflix plunge, Wall Street analysts forecast just tame returns ahead for the once high-flying FANG group Roku shares rise after analyst raises streaming video company's price target due to customer growth China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals Amazon says US Prime Day sales 'so far bigger than ever' as glitch is resolved Netflix is on pace for its worst day in two years US lumber producers see huge opportunity, rush to expand San Francisco to consider tax on companies to help homeless Homebuilder sentiment, still high, stalls as tariffs, labor and land drive up costs Powell backs more rate hikes as economy growing 'considerably stronger' Netflix history is filled with big stock declines – like today – followed by bigger rebounds Intel shares get downgraded by Evercore ISI due to rising competition from Nvidia, AMD Petco aims to reinvent the pet store with something you can't buy online Genetic testing is coming of age, but for consumers it's buyer beware Tech 'FAANG' was the most-crowded trade in the world heading into the Netflix implosion, survey shows Netflix weak subscriber growth may indicate a 'maturity wall' that could whack the stock even more: Analyst This chart may be predicting the bull market's demise Wall Street says Netflix's stock plunge is a ‘compelling’ buying opportunity because the streaming giant ‘never misses twice’ Tesla sinks after Musk tweets, again Boeing announces new division devoted to flying taxis Stocks making the biggest move premarket: NFLX, UNH, GS, AMZN, WMT & more Deutsche Bank downgrades Netflix, but says big subscriber miss is not 'thesis changing' IBM is experimenting with a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar North Korea and Zimbabwe: A friendship explained Virgin Galactic spinoff Orbit to launch rockets from the UK with space deal Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys? That’s what PwC says ‘Treasonous’ Trump and ‘Putin’s poodle:' Scathing headlines follow the Trump-Putin summit China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says Trump's performance at summit with Putin was 'unprecedented,' experts say Walmart and Microsoft link up on cloud technology as they both battle Amazon European stocks seen mixed amid earnings; Fed’s Powell to address Congress How I knew I should quit my day job and run my start-up full-time: Viral website founder China's stocks have been trounced, but the trade war may ultimately be good news for those shares Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel bets on crypto start-up Block.one Asian shares subdued open after mixed close on Wall Street; energy stocks under pressure Amazon cloud hits snags after Amazon Prime Day downtime Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis Tech stocks set to sink on Tuesday after rough evening for ‘FANG’ Netflix plummets after missing big on subscriber growth This wristband lets humans control machines with their minds The U.S. has a rocky history convincing Russia to extradite computer criminals Amazon suffers glitches at the start of Prime Day Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history 'The United States has been foolish': Read Trump and Putin's full exchange Goldman Sachs recommends these 5 highly profitable companies — including Nvidia — to combat rising inflation Goldman Sachs releases 'tactical' stock picks for this earnings season Three red flags for Netflix ahead of its earnings report The bond market may be raising recession fears, but don't expect one anytime soon Cramer: Banks are 'making fortunes' but are still as hated as they were during the financial crisis Putin told Trump at summit: Russia never meddled in US election

Currency

Why scan-reading artificial intelligence is bad news for radiologists

THE better artificial intelligence gets, the greater the popular concern that smart machines will soon usher in a labour-market catastrophe. In Chandler, Arizona, Americans can at this moment hail a ride from a car without a human at the wheel. Web users can read high-quality, instant translations of foreign-language newspapers—no professional translation service needed. And developers of machine-learning technologies are moving rapidly to apply their tools across a vast array of medical tasks.

Despite this, economists, with rare exceptions, are relatively sanguine about the possible labour-market effects of AI. Technological change always raises fears of mass unemployment, after all, and yet there are more people working worldwide than ever. Count me among those who reckon this approach is a bit too dismissive of the threat. On the one hand, while the very broad story of technological progress over the past two centuries has been one in which employment has grown massively, across shorter periods (which can themselves last for decades) technological disruptions can produce quite a lot of hardship for particular subsets of workers—and even, in some cases, for the labour force as a whole. And on the other, AI is a different animal than the steam engine or the desktop computer.

  • The smashers of Mary’s images are acting more against statues than against her

  • American Airlines risks 15,000 flight cancellations after a rostering mishap

  • How to spot the next crisis

  • Foreign reserves

  • Why General Electric is struggling

  • A row over a wedding cake pits religious liberty against LGBT rights

An interesting recent piece by Greg Ip, a friend and former colleague now at the Wall Street Journal, helps illustrate why life might be harder for workers than optimists appreciate. Mr Ip considers the deployment of an AI trained to recognise pneumonia on chest X-rays. America’s medical industry produces about 60bn radiological images each year, Mr Ip notes. It is easy to imagine how an AI that can effectively read such scans could have a significant impact on the employability of working radiologists. But Mr Ip says not to worry:

In recent decades, the volume of medical images has skyrocketed, reflecting growing patient loads, more types of scans and the number of images each exam produces. CT scans that once captured one dimension of the body can now capture all three, generating hundreds or even thousands of highly detailed images…

The strain of all that data, he says, is why some images in Britain go weeks without being read, why many radiologists are burned out, and why radiologist shortages loom, despite high pay.

And:

In “many of the everyday AI applications, the machine predicts the most relevant options and sorts them, but the human makes the actual choice,” says Avi Goldfarb, an economist specializing in AI at the University of Toronto…

Maximum accuracy requires the algorithm be trained separately for every condition and disease, a costly and labor-intensive process. Then, notes Dr. Dreyer, the Food and Drug Administration must approve the system and doctors then integrate it into their practices.

So, he concludes, AI will probably make radiological work easier and more interesting rather than redundant. Indeed, he notes, the AI scare might well resemble the panic in the 1990s over the employment effects of the outsourcing of tasks to cheaper technicians abroad, which never seriously affected rich-world practitioners.

I would advise radiologists to take the threat far more seriously, for several reasons. First, as Mr Ip notes, radiologists are currently in short supply, despite high pay. The new AI promises to make existing radiologists significantly more productive, which is good: it is the absence of rapid productivity growth in health care which contributes to the rising share of health-care spending in GDP. But it is also the absence of rapid productivity growth in health care which accounts for the extraordinary growth in employment in the sector. (Health care jobs account for a third of total employment growth in America since 2017.) Rising productivity in scan-reading might not lead to stagnant or falling employment of radiologists if it meant a fall in the cost of scans which led to a massive increase in the number of scans administered, but there is no indication in the piece that this is a likely outcome.

Employment magnitudes matter, and technological shifts which replace large numbers of low-productivity radiologists with a smaller number of high-productivity radiologists mean, at a minimum, a serious disruption awaits many radiological workers. What’s more, as radiologists cease to be in short supply, their bargaining power will be eroded, and so, too, will their ability to ask for and receive pay rises. If lots of working radiologists find themselves in competition for a smaller number of jobs, it is possible that even those who continue to work in the field find themselves unable to capture much in the way of pecuniary benefits as a result of the productivity boost from AI.

Over the long run, other factors loom larger for the fate of radiologists. AI capabilities are anything but static. Existing AIs may work best as complements for human workers, but that will almost certainly change in a very short amount of time. The techniques underlying machine learning are themselves getting better at an astonishing pace, for one thing. For another, the value humans add, in assessing the information given to them by AIs and making judgments, can itself be used to train AIs to do their jobs better. The radiologists that continue to work will in effect be training their replacements. And should rising productivity in radiology lead to an increase in the number of scans, that too will add to the data available to the machines, further boosting their capabilities. It seems a good bet that a capable, experienced radiologist will not be replaced by a machine within the next five to ten years. But what sort of career prospects are students now considering whether to train to become a radiologist likely to face on entering the labour market?

A final point concerns the relevance of the outsourcing parallel. If you train an Indian worker to do the job of an American radiologist just as capably as that radiologist in every respect, then you increase the total effective labour supply of radiologists by one person. If you train 1,000 workers, you increase the supply of radiologists by 1,000, and so on. If you train an AI to do the job of an American radiologist just as capably as that radiologist in every respect, then you increase the total effective labour supply of radiologists by an unlimited amount. So yes, it is costly to train an algorithm to handle every oddity associated with every disease, just as it is costly to train a human worker. But there is simply no comparison between the economic effect of training the AI versus the worker. The latter places an imperceptibly small amount of downward pressure on radiologists’ wages. The latter makes all of them—every single one working in every clinic and hospital everywhere—unnecessary, all at a stroke.

Of course it is possible for displaced workers to find other employment. But the bigger the adjustment, the more difficult it will be for individual workers, and the more we should expect a decline in pay to play a critical role in clearing the labour market. And the other thing about AI, of course, is that technological improvements achieved in one part of the economy are quite likely to come alongside, and indeed to contribute to, technological improvements elsewhere in the economy. That is fantastic news for consumers—provided that we can manage the transition without suffering a major social crisis (or strangling the technology in its infancy to avoid one). But it also means that workers have plenty to fear.

NextRichard Thaler’s work demonstrates why economics is hard

Source: economist
Why scan-reading artificial intelligence is bad news for radiologists

Comments are closed.