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Google is Testing its Medical AI Chatbot at the Mayo Clinic

Google leads the way in developing medical AI chatbot systems and testing them at various hospitals.
Google leads the way in developing medical AI chatbot systems and testing them at various hospitals such as Mayo Clinic. Credit: Lawrence Sinclair / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Google is currently putting its Med-PaLM 2 AI chat technology to the test in medical facilities, including the prestigious Mayo Clinic and various hospitals.

According to an article by The Wall Street Journal, this technology is built upon Google’s PaLM 2 large language model (LLM), which serves as the foundation for Bard, Google’s alternative to ChatGPT. Bard was only recently introduced at the Google I/O event a few months ago.

Specifications of Med-PaLM-2

Med-PaLM-2 has undergone specialized training using questions and answers from medical licensing exams, as well as a carefully curated collection of demonstrations by medical experts. As a result, it possesses advanced knowledge in responding to health-related inquiries.

Additionally, the report states that Med-PaLM-2 is capable of performing time-consuming tasks such as document summarization and research data organization.

At the Google I/O event, Google presented a comprehensive paper outlining the advancements made in Med-PaLM2.

The paper highlighted several positive aspects of the technology, including its ability to align with medical consensus, exhibit reasoning capabilities, and generate answers that were preferred by users over responses from physicians. However, there were also some negative observations regarding its accuracy, which is a recurring issue observed in other Chat AI models.

Initiatives of Google and Microsoft for patient confidentiality

Microsoft is actively engaged in the development of medical AI chat technology, leveraging OpenAI’s ChatGPT as its foundation. To further their efforts, they have collaborated with Epic, a prominent healthcare software company.

Similarly, Google has divulged its initiatives in employing AI for ultrasound diagnosis and cancer therapy, a revelation made in March.

Both Microsoft and Google have assured the public that they prioritize the confidentiality of patient information, emphasizing that their models are not trained on patient data. Interestingly, Microsoft recently expressed concerns about the potential misuse of its ChatGPT technology by doctors for enhancing patient communications.

Nascent stages of development

According to an internal email obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Google expressed its belief that the enhanced model could provide immense value in regions where access to doctors is limited.

Did you know? 📚 Google’s medical AI chatbot is already making moves in hospitals! 💥 Yes, you heard that right! 🚀

Google’s AI tool, Med-PaLM 2, created to answer medical-related queries, has been undergoing trials at Mayo Clinic since April. This model, a variant of PaLM 2,… pic.twitter.com/KG4VwpSnf4

— Harry (@HarryCleveley) July 9, 2023

Nevertheless, Google acknowledges that the technology is still in its nascent stages. Google’s senior research director, Greg Corrado, shared his perspective, stating, “I don’t feel that this kind of technology is yet at a place where I would want it in my family’s healthcare journey.”

However, he also highlighted that the technology significantly amplifies the areas in healthcare where AI can bring about substantial benefits.

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