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Chinese Startup Infervision Emerges From Stealth With An AI Tool For Diagnosing Lung Cancer (techcrunch.com) 45

Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch writes of a Chinese company called Infervision that aims to help lower the number of people in China who die from lung cancer ever year. The company has created a tool that uses machine learning and computer vision to help diagnose cancers. From the report: The company is taking advantage of a digital infrastructure that's been in place in Chinese hospitals since the SARS outbreak in 2003. It is using training data from images stored in digital health records in China and coupling them with data the company's technology is collecting in real time from its deployment in 20 hospitals around China (including Peking Union Medical College Hospital and Shanghai Changzheng Hospital). Infervision is also working with GE Healthcare, Cisco and Nvidia to develop and refine its technology. The company has processed roughly 100,000 CT scans and 100,000 x-rays since its initial installation last year. Infervision installs its software on-premise at hospitals and updates its image recognition and diagnostics tools based on the data coming in from its training hospitals, Chen Kuan, founder and CEO of Infervision, said. Training procedures are divided into two separate components, according to Kuan. The first is the the actual training system, where annotated data is collected from radiologists and incorporated into the company's training data. Then an updated version of the software (including the latest training data) is distributed to the network of hospitals.
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Chinese Startup Infervision Emerges From Stealth With An AI Tool For Diagnosing Lung Cancer

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Stupid headline. Statistical models are not AI. Really, who is supposed to be impressed by this?

    • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @06:49AM (#54383089) Homepage

      Statistical models are not AI.

      The article is poor on the details of the methods.
      But given the size of the data set, and given the kind of hardware used (massive GPU cluster),
      it's possible that the system relies on deep neural nets (probably of the convnet type, given that it processes visual information)
      and these things are as close as we can currently get to an actual AI.
      (i.e.: something that learns on its own, forms its own way to interpret the data, and vaguely works in the same way as visual cortex in animals and human)

      it's simplistic AI (it's closer to a collection to various visual cortex columns than a full-sized sentient brain. and even if there are some of the insects crawling in your basement with more brain power than this), but it's still AI.

    • by lorinc ( 2470890 )

      I'm fed up with those recurrent comments that statistical learning is not AI. Please base your opinion on evidences and not on your feelings.

      For instance, go to the page of the major conference on AI: http://www.aaai.org/Conference... [aaai.org]
      Look at the topics, they include machine learning. There you have it, the professionals in AI consider ML to be AI.

      We can now safely have that useless comment die and never appear again.

  • Amazing! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jzanu ( 668651 )
    THIS is true innovation in applied technology! Building on their infrastructure developed for one epidemic, this firm has enhanced its service offering by applying new technologies in a way that treats an ongoing global problem and saves lives. These kinds of technological insights are why more legitimate scientific research papers were published by Chinese authors last year than the rest of the world combined.
    • by Jzanu ( 668651 )
      As reference see here [nature.com].
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Great, now that the propaganda is over, how about reducing the cause, errr ... like ... pollution?

        • That and getting people to quit smoking.

          • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
            Smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer, by the way. I don't know how many times I've heard patients say "but I never smoked" on receiving their diagnosis. While convincing people to give up smoking is important because it removes a preventable risk factor; early detection is the most important factor, as usual.
        • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
          They're working on it [wikipedia.org]. China is currently the world's largest producer of renewable energy, with more than double the capacity of the US in second place, but due to their huge energy consumption that was still just over 20% of their total production in 2013, increasing to 23% in 2014 due to their rate of deployment. Sure, there's a long way to go, but that's going to change fast as they've made a huge commitment to renewables and, unlike many other countries, are actually delivering on it; China dominates
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Privacy concerns already stopped such efforts in the USA, and are unlikely to be resolved any time soon. No real privacy, or privacy concerns in China.

    • by clodney ( 778910 )

      Privacy concerns already stopped such efforts in the USA, and are unlikely to be resolved any time soon. No real privacy, or privacy concerns in China.

      Actually, something very similar has already happened in the USA. Enlitic (http://www.enlitic.com/) is a company that uses neural networks and machine vision to do lung cancer detection in CT images, with accuracy rates that already compare favorably to human read images.

      Do any reading in the radiology space, and you see headlines about machine learning every day. It is definitely coming.

  • a Chinese company called Infervision that aims to help lower the number of people in China who die from lung cancer ever year

    So they're trying to improve air quality and reduce smoking? Those seem like the best methods, and they're huge problems in China. Still any effort to detect cancer earlier will help people survive longer. Hopefully this works and can be expanded to other types of cancer soon.

  • If you see how much the Chinese are smoking, this comes handy.

  • Why not tackle the problem at it's source by cleaning the air and outlaw cigarettes? Anyplace where you have to wear a HEPA filter mask on a daily basis has bigger problems that need solving fast. I am hypothesizing that lung cancer deaths will fall significantly by fixing those two items.

    Still, it's a pretty interesting tool.

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