Artificial Intelligence Theraputics

AI system to evaluate dental restoration

The patent “Enhanced Techniques for Determination of Dental Margins in Intraoral Scans” covers a machine learning process applied in Smart Margin and Prep Assess

Source: Pearl gets patent for AI system used in dental restoration

Great, as if dentists aren’t critical enough of each other we will soon have an artificial intelligence telling us how bad our restorations are.

The developers claim that 80% of dental restorations are “sub optimal” and this algorithm will help find out why.

Despite my snark, I like the concept and will be interested to see if it actually works.

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Deep Medicine; What I am reading right now

Artificial Intelligence

Dental AI Council

Leaders from across the dental industry announced the formation of the Dental AI Council (DAIC), an organization devoted to helping define the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in dentistry through research and education. DAIC members represent all major industry constituencies, including practitioners, dental service organizations, equipment manufacturers, practice management software providers, insurance carriers, laboratories and universities. As AI begins to yield increased efficiency, accuracy, consistency and insight in a variety of dental applications, the DAIC will seek to stimulate greater industry-wide understanding of the technology.

The primary mission of the Dental AI Council is to help define the future of AI in dentistry and educate the larger dental community.

Source: Dental AI Council

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Artificial intelligence may not be better than experts at reading medical scans

This story is not about…you know what. From

A new study casts doubt on claims that artificial intelligence (AI) equals or surpasses the ability of human experts to interpret medical images.

Source: Artificial intelligence may not be better than experts at reading medical scans –

They claim earlier studies were flawed.

Artificial Intelligence Security

Advances In Artificial Intelligence Threaten Safety, Privacy Of Our Health Data

From Study Finds:

Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley say their findings show the regulations written within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 may be outdated and are incapable of keeping Americans’ health data safe and private with the progress made by AI developers…

…They say that AI can now use data collected by fitness trackers, smartphones, smartwatches, and other devices that track movement to identify citizens by learning their daily step patterns and correlating it to demographic data.

Source: Study: Advances In Artificial Intelligence Threaten Safety, Privacy Of Our Health Data – Study Finds

I am a HUGE fan of AI in medicine. The potential for good, improving the human condition is incredible. However as the linked article indicates there is also great potential for misuse. Sadly this is an issue with every new innovation. The potential for misuse does not mean we do not move forward and attempt to make things better. Nevertheless it is wise to be aware of potential abuses and do what can be done to avoid them.

As to HIPAA it was first enacted in 1996 however the most recent update was put into effect in 2013. So it is not that out of date. Having said that technology is progressing at such a rate regulators are constantly playing catch up.

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Artificial Intelligence Better At Diagnosing Skin Cancer Than Dermatologists

From Study Finds:

…an artificial intelligence program trained to identify and diagnose skin cancer in humans proved to show greater accuracy when pitted against dermatologists.

Researchers from the U.S., Germany, and France used an AI system called the Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) to detect skin cancer by showing it more than 100,000 images of malignant melanomas and benign moles. They then compared the AI’s performance in successfully identifying them on human patients with the performance of 58 international dermatologists. They found that the CNN detected more melanomas and correctly identified more benign tumors than the dermatologists.

Source: Artificial Intelligence Better At Diagnosing Skin Cancer Than Dermatologists, Study Finds – Study Finds

Another remarkable demonstration of the future of AI diagnostics. Question?

Would you feel better or even OK if you knew your suspicious skin lesson was examined by a machine and not by a human? The study tells us the machine is better, but how do you feel about that? Once we overcome our reluctance to trust the machine imagine this:

Joanna notices an unusual discoloration on her left shoulder. Concerned she uses her smart phone to take a photo and immediately uploads it to a diagnostic AI in the cloud. Within minutes she receives a message that the lesion she noticed is nothing to worry about. The cost to Joanna is almost zero in both time and money.

Compare that to our current system in which Joanna would need to call the dermatologist -wait on hold- make an appointment in a few weeks. Then she would need to take time off work or find child care drive to the doctor’s office, park, wait to be seen then have the doctor examine her. Once she had been seen and assured there was nothing to worry about the dance of the insurance coverage would begin. An office visit and skin exam will be charged out at least at $200, How much Joanna will need to pay as a co-pay or deductible is anyone’s guess.

Digital technology has the potential to drastically lower costs and improve results. The “crisis” in American healthcare is not a crisis of care it is a crisis of affordability. High tech diagnostics will solve this crisis much more effectively than a centralized command and control system.

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Alexa and HIPAA

From Los Angeles Times:

She told me the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, aka HIPAA, the federal medical-privacy law passed in 1996, never anticipated a scenario in which people would willingly disclose confidential medical information to a private company via a voice-activated computer in their living room.

“HIPAA doesn’t apply to Amazon in this situation,” she said. “Amazon has no relationship with Alexa users as a healthcare provider. The company theoretically could do almost anything with that information.”

Source: Alexa may be key to Amazon’s looming domination of the healthcare market – Los Angeles Times

Very interesting on several levels.

First, what a wonderful service. You can simply ask Alexa a medical question and get an answer based on the best professional knowledge instantly. No calling for an appointment, taking time off work, finding a parking place, waiting, and waiting, then hassling with the insurer.

Second, The more we use the service the better Alexa will become at answering our questions.

BUT on another level what will Amazon do with all our intimate health related data? The bulk of the linked article is awfulizing, speculating on what Amazon might do.

I tend to be an optimist. The history of mankind is a relentless journey toward improving the human condition. Nevertheless I wish I trusted them more.

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Can AI solve the GREAT Dentist’s Dilemma?

From WSJ: (To read the full article you need a WSJ subscription)

Companies that provide business support to dentists are starting to use artificial intelligence to analyze X-ray images and automate certain steps in common procedures, pointing to the technology’s cost-cutting potential.

Source: AI Can Lead to Lower Dentist Bills – WSJ

This is still preliminary, but it is nevertheless an actual use of AI to lower costs in dentistry. I believe the article is based on a DSO offering management services to multiple offices, however as I do not have a WSJ subscription I am not certain. However this is clearly the beginning of solving the greatest problem dentists face.

Dentists love to be in charge. They chose dentistry in large part because they wanted to be their own boss, yet at the same time they do not like spending time on management and business tasks.

As a result the profession is overrun with management consultants. This is a good thing as it allows dentists (if they are willing) to out source the management of the practice. The next step will be to bypass the human consultant and simply allow the AI to look over your practice and handle the nagging details dentists do not like to address. Like controlling inventory, managing accounts receivable, analyzing payment plans or even evaluating and rewarding or firing employees.

Personally I am horrible when it comes to dealing with under performing team members. I hate firing people. How nice it would be to simply have the AI make the call and send out a pink slip. 🙂

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Blink & You’ll Miss It: AI Solves Rubik’s Cube – In A Fraction Of A Second!

From Study Finds:

Now, researchers from the University of California have created an extraordinary artificial intelligence system capable of solving the Rubik’s Cube — in a fraction of a second.

Source: Blink & You’ll Miss It: AI Solves Rubik’s Cube – In A Fraction Of A Second! – Study Finds

Another amazing AI story. Not only does the machine solve this puzzle in an instant it does it in less moves than a very bright human,

Baldi and his team say that some extremely bright individuals, specifically teenagers, are able to solve a Rubik’s Cube in around 50 moves. The AI, on the other hand, usually only takes a mind-bending 20 moves. This had lead Baldi to hypothesize that the AI goes about solving the puzzle in a completely different way than a human ever would.

Diagnosis and treatment planning are a type of puzzle.

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It’s Hard To Win At Poker Against An Opponent With No Tell

From  FiveThirtyEight:

…a pair of computer scientists have announced that they’ve created an artificial intelligence poker player that is stronger than a full table of top human professionals at the most popular form of the game — no-limit Texas Hold ’em.

Source: It’s Hard To Win At Poker Against An Opponent With No Tell | FiveThirtyEight

Hmmm…another step forward for AI. Interesting in that success at poker requires an understanding of “imperfect information”. Why does this matter? AI diagnosis and treatment planning is well on the way. In ten years the profession will be fundamentally changed.

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FDA grapples with AI medical devices

From Roll Call:

Imagine a not-too-distant future when medical devices powered by artificial intelligence continuously adapt to new symptoms presented by patients and learn how to make accurate diagnoses much like a well-trained physician would.

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing for such a future and weighing how to assess and certify such medical devices, seeing them more like living things that can’t be regulated in the same manner as old-fashioned equipment.

Source: FDA grapples with AI medical devices

Interesting. I do believe a good case can be made in support of regulations to protect the public. On the other hand the bureaucratic incentive is to deny innovation. No one is ever criticized for denying a new device the public never hears about but they will be crucified if they approve some device that can be shown to cause harm.

It is reassuring to see there is at least some recognition of the problem.

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A.I. Shows Promise Assisting Physicians

From NYT:

In a paper published on Monday in Nature Medicine, the scientists reported that they had built a system that automatically diagnoses common childhood conditions — from influenza to meningitis — after processing the patient’s symptoms, history, lab results and other clinical data.

The system was highly accurate, the researchers said,…

…Dr. Kang Zhang, chief of ophthalmic genetics at the University of California, San Diego, has built systems that can analyze eye scans for hemorrhages, lesions and other signs of diabetic blindness. Ideally, such systems would serve as a first line of defense, screening patients and pinpointing those who need further attention.

Source: A.I. Shows Promise Assisting Physicians – The New York Times

Another step to automated diagnosis.

Artificial Intelligence Future Tech Hardware Just for Fun

SurfCT Launches of Surf Robotics – bringing Artificial Intelligence & Robotics to Dentistry

From Digital Journal:

At various dental offices throughout the world where Pepper is being deployed by Surf Robotics and welcomed as a dental team member, the nearly four-foot tall robot – with green and blue eyes that has a computer tablet connected to its stomach – waits at the front desk to greet patients. Pepper checks patients in, gets their charts ready and makes them feel comfortable while they wait for appointments.

Source: SurfCT Kicks off 2019 With Launch of Surf Robotics – a new robotic dental company bringing Artificial Intelligence & Robotics to Dentistry – Press Release – Digital Journal

I put this in both the “Future Tech” and the “Just for Fun” categories. As it is presented Pepper is mostly a cute novelty and not really a replacement for a person at the front desk. On the other hand I expect we will soon be seeing front desk kiosk type arrangements in place of a receptionist. The business administrators will be free to administer rather than greet.

Follow the link for the full press release.

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Amazon push into health data analytics inspires awe — and skepticism


The computer learned to perform data-collating tasks that might take a trained clinician hours or days to do in a matter of seconds, and “time is what we’re struggling with in cancer research,”

Source: Amazon push into health data analytics inspires awe — and skepticism – POLITICO

This is amazing!! For details follow the link, however be warned the article is a bit geeky.

What Amazon and the others mentioned in the article are doing with AI and Big Data has the potential to revolutionize healthcare and substantially improve the human condition. The potential upside is incredible.

Just one problem…do you trust them?

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The fourth cycle of the hive mind (and what to do about it)

More wisdom from Seth Godin:

If you’re a mediocre lawyer or doctor, your job is now in serious jeopardy. The combination of all four of these cycles means that the hive computer is going to do your job better than you can, soon.

Source: The fourth cycle of the hive mind (and what to do about it) | Seth’s Blog

Longer than most of Seth’s blogs but worth the click.

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AI Designs Radiation Therapy Treatment Plan For Cancer In Twenty Minutes

A new artificial intelligence (AI) tool developed by a team at the University of Toronto may be able to significantly reduce the time needed to develop radiation therapy treatment plans for people with cancer.

Source: AI Designs Radiation Therapy Treatment Plan For Cancer In Twenty Minutes

It is just a matter of time until AI is diagnosing and treatment planning dental care, including implant placement.

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A team of AI algorithms just crushed humans in a complex computer game

From MIT Technology Review:

This is an important and novel direction for AI, since algorithms typically operate independently. Approaches that help algorithms cooperate with each other could prove important for commercial uses of the technology. AI algorithms could, for instance, team up to outmaneuver opponents in online trading or ad bidding. Collaborative algorithms might also cooperate with humans.

Source: A team of AI algorithms just crushed humans in a complex computer game – MIT Technology Review

What is the dental technology connection? Diagnosis.

Upload symptoms and diagnostic images and let the AI make the diagnosis. It might even be possible for the patient to upload the data from home using smart phone apps.

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Just a Few of the Amazing Things AI Is Doing in Healthcare

From Singularity Hub:

Among the examples cited in his interview, Jacobstein referenced a 2017 breakthrough at Stanford University where an AI system was used for skin cancer identification. To train the system, the team showed a convolutional neural network images of 129,000 skin lesions. The system was able to differentiate between images displaying malignant melanomas and benign skin lesions. When tested against 21 board–certified dermatologists, the system made comparable diagnostic calls.

Pattern recognition and image detection are just two examples of successful uses of AI in healthcare and medicine—the list goes on.

Source: Just a Few of the Amazing Things AI Is Doing in Healthcare

A short basic article. If the AI can diagnose skin lesions why not oral lesions or dental radiographs?

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Are You OK with Having a Robot Dentist?

From Healthline::

As eager as many sectors are to embrace artificial intelligence and robots, dental patients are only lukewarm to the idea of an autonomous machine operating within the tight confines of their mouths. In an online survey of more than 500 people, researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida asked people how they felt about the idea of robotic dentists.

Source: Are You OK with Having a Robot Dentist?

Robots are already creeping into dentistry with digital impressions and 3D modeling. However for most people the idea of a robot actually working in their mouth is uncomfortable.

Not surprising people are most comfortable with the idea of a robot performing what are perceived as simple non invasive procedures such as cleanings or whitening.

Real humans are also perceived as being more artistic than machines. When it comes to aesthetics people prefer humans to robots.

Despite all this robots will be doing dentistry in the future. They may be autonomous or controlled by a human from afar. Full automation will not happen in the near future but it is coming.

Interestingly Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s first book “Player Piano” written in 1952 describes a future society where automation has taken over making human labor obsolete. The only job that machines could not do was dentistry.

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A data driven revolution in health care is coming

From The Economist:

Future AIs could, for instance, provide automated medical diagnosis from a description of your symptoms, spot behavioural traits that suggest you are depressed or identify if you are at special risk of cardiac disease.

…The more patient data are analysed in the cloud or shared with different firms, the greater the potential threat of hacking or misuse. Almost a quarter of all data breaches in America happen in health care.

Source: A revolution in health care is coming – Data and medicine

Regular readers will notice two common issues we often look at in the linked article.

  1. AI and advanced scanning devices will radically revolutionize medicine, changing the traditional job of the physician and dentist completely.
  2. Security remains a huge risk and until security is addressed advances in digital medicine will be limited.

Notice the line quoted above: Almost a quarter of all data breaches in America happen in health care.