A new study by an international team of scientists from Canada, the U.S., Australia and Taiwan reports that artificial intelligence used to read X-rays and CT scans can predict a person’s race with 90 per cent accuracy — and humans can’t. The scientists, including those from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School, have no idea how the program does it.
“When my graduate students showed me some of the results that were in this paper, I actually thought it must be a mistake,” Marzyeh Ghassemi, an MIT assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and co-author of the paper, published in The Lancet Digital Health, told the Boston Globe. “I honestly thought my students were crazy.”
The study began after scientists noticed that an AI program for examining chest X-rays was more likely to miss signs of illness in Black patients. “We asked ourselves, how can that be if computers cannot tell the race of a person?” a co-author and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School Leo Anthony Celi told the Boston Globe.