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IBM Watson dishes out 'dodgy cancer advice', Google Translate isn't better than humans yet, and other AI tidbits


Entirely true and valid points.

In oncology, there is a surprising amount of logical steps that can be performed that are literally IF/ELSE statements that lead to a resultant pattern of care. There is an awful lot of background theory, but you could probably train a Visual Basic Macro in Excel to calculate with moderate accuracy what the treatment should be.

Just as an example, breast cancer, you may determine the size, location and severity of the tumour, run blood test and DNA diagnostics for various known genetic faults (possibly: BRCA, P53, HER, FAP etc.), there are recommended 'standard' protocols advised for many 'common' tumour developments. The problem is that there are possibly 20-30 different treatments with high theoretical learning curves.

For those of a nerdy inquisition, I really do recommend reading about the above cancer genes. As our understanding of DNA is improving, it is reaching the stage where many cancer progressions have been mapped in processes that are akin to typical electronic engineering applications. i.e. damaged hormone growth receptor results in uncontrolled growth, faulty DNA repair protein fails to detect/repair tumours, etc.

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