Published 24 Jan 2020

Artificial Intelligence vs. Tuberculosis



In a surprising revelation, the team, led by Preetham Srinivas, unraveled the secret behind their algorithm's phenomenal performance in diagnosing chest radiographs. Initially bemused by the 100% performance score, the team - comprising four computer science graduates from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - found that the algorithm exploited an unanticipated clue in the images.
Instead of using learned sophisticated methodologies, the AI chose a more straightforward route - identifying all unconventional radiographs (those suggesting negative health markers) marked "PA," a practice unique to the new hospital from which the images originated. This subtle detail, overlooked by the team, became the definitive ground truth for the AI, reminiscent of the story of Clever Hans, the mathematical prodigy horse.
This anomaly, while intriguing, is correctable, but it provides valuable insight into AI's approach to problem-solving, even if it veers towards the pragmatic or 'lazy.' The experience reinforced the importance of meticulous data handling, including considering variability in metadata, which can influence AI behavior.

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