IDA Seminar – Jakub Tolar (University of Minnesota)

Symbiosis of Artificial and Human Intelligence in Medicine

Modern medicine, based on human intelligence and science, has rapidly increased in complexity across the spectrum. We see it in the discovery of mechanisms of disease—such as epigenetic markers of disease or development of therapies based on gene editing. We see it in clinical care with the challenges of electronic record keeping, rapid image interpretation, and accurate diagnostics. And we even see it in health care markets that are increasingly defined by social determinants of health, increasing costs, clinician workloads, and challenging patient flow. We already see artificial intelligence (AI) in extensive use in other areas: guiding the screening of spam, the harvesting of crops, and identifying fraudulent credit card use.

Why have medical efforts to integrate AI been so slow?

The tools AI brings—machine learning, along with enhanced computer power, and cloud storage—are all highly applicable to the challenges of medicine. We already have deep neural networks interpreting CT and MRI scans, mammography, echocardiograms, whole-slide pathology images, skin lesions, and retinal scans. We have deep-learning algorithms to predict clinical outcomes in sepsis, dementia, and re-admissions. Wearables and virtual medical coaches provide individual guidance to patients and clinicians alike. Yet, AI hype has exceeded the AI reality, limited by the capacity of healthcare providers and systems to move from siloes to an interdisciplinary culture, to evolve from experience-based to data-driven decision making, and from a risk-averse to an experimental mindset. The formidable incentives that are driving the movement to AI and will force automation mean that we should be thinking ahead. Human health is too unique, too personal, to commit entirely to machines. The best outcome will be a symbiosis between human and artificial intelligence that offers both precision and compassion in patient care.

July 10, 2019 (Wednesday)
Room K9 (Šrámek's auditorium), Building E, Karlovo nám. 13


Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD is the Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School and a Distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Blood and Marrow Transplantation. An internationally recognized physician and researcher, Dr. Tolar is known for his care of patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. His research is focused on using hematopoietic stem cell transplant as a treatment for rare genetic disorders. Originally from the Czech Republic, Dr. Tolar received his medical education (MD) in Prague at Charles University. In 1992, he came to the University of Minnesota, where he completed his PhD in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and Genetics. Read the full bio.