As per recent reports, Facebook is making efforts to revolutionize MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.
The company announced on Monday that a new research project aims to use artificial intelligence (AI) to make MRI scans up to ten times faster. Facebook has been granted access to a trove of around 3 million anonymised MRI images from about 10,000 different clinical cases.
Facebook said that the data it has access to, has had patient names as well as all other protected health information removed. The project is compliant with HIPAA privacy regulations.
This project is a collaboration between Facebook’s FAIR AI research lab and NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology.
With this project Facebook is making a major foray into into the medical space. The social media giant attempts to apply its experimental AI research efforts to real-world problems. This is an area that is highly rich with possibilities, but fraught with potential problems and many other privacy concerns.
Google owned DeepMind, an AI lab, faced years of scrutiny over a data-sharing partnership with Britain’s NHS (National Health Service). Ultimately, the UK’s data regulator ruled that the organisation violated British privacy laws.
MRI scans generally take about half an hour and the patient lies dead still in a cramped tube. Facebook aims to reduce this time by using AI to capture less data while focusing the scanning process only on what’s important.
But there are certain risks involved. Like in the process of collecting less data, what if something is missed. However, the advantages are that patients can take the scans more easily. It will also potentially bring patient costs down as it increases the rate at which MRIs can be conducted.
Facebook said that by using AI, it may be possible to capture less data and therefore scan faster. This can be done by simultaneously preserving or even enhancing the rich information content of magnetic resonance images. The key here for this project to be successful would be to train artificial neural networks to recognize the underlying structure of the images so as to fill in views omitted from the accelerated scan.
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has faced significant outrage over its privacy policies and use of customer data. Facebook is trying to put an end to all these concerns with this MRI initiative, by reassuring the public for this project that no Facebook data of any kind will be used. This is a really good move by Facebook.