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Artificial Intelligence can determine race from medical images

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

According to a study conducted by MIT researchers, artificial intelligence (AI) can predict the self-reported race of patients from medical images alone with high accuracy. Source


The study used imaging data of chest X-rays, limb X-rays, chest CT scans, and mammograms to train a deep learning model to identify race as white, Black, or Asian, even though the images themselves contained no explicit mention of the patient’s race. Source


The researchers found that AI can accurately predict self-reported race of patients from medical images that contain no indications of race detectable by human experts. Source


It is concerning that AI can easily learn to recognize racial identity in medical images, and that this capability is extremely difficult to isolate or mitigate.


The miseducation of algorithms is a critical problem; when artificial intelligence mirrors unconscious thoughts, racism, and biases of the humans who generated these algorithms, it can lead to serious harm.


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