Google is already testing its Med-PaLM 2 AI chat technology at the Mayo Clinic and other hospitals, according to The Wall Street Journal. The technology is based on the company’s PaLM 2 large language model (LLM) that underpins Bard, Google’s ChatGPT rival. It was launched just months ago at Google I/O.

Trained on Medical Licensing Exams

Unlike the base model, Med-PaLM-2 has been trained on questions and answers from medical licensing exams, along with a curated set of medical expert demonstrations. This gives it expertise in answering health-related questions. It can also perform labour-intensive tasks like summarizing documents and organizing research data, according to the report.

Demonstrated Features

During I/O, Google released a paper detailing its work on Med-PaLM2. On the positive side, it demonstrated features like “alignment with medical consensus,” reasoning ability, and even the ability to generate answers that were preferred by respondents over physician-generated responses. More negatively, it showed the same accuracy problems we’ve seen on other Chat AI models.

Microsoft’s Medical AI Chat Tech

Microsoft is also developing medical AI chat tech based on OpenAI’s ChatGPT, having teamed up with the healthcare software company Epic. Google is also working on using its AI for ultrasound diagnosis and cancer therapy, as it revealed in March. Both companies have promised to keep patient information confidential, saying they don’t train their models on patient data. Last month, Microsoft expressed alarm about its ChatGPT technology being used by doctors to improve communications with patients.

Potential Value in Countries with Limited Access to Doctors

In an internal email seen by the WSJ, Google said it believes the updated model could “be of tremendous value in countries that have more limited access to doctors.” Still, Google has admitted that the technology is still in its early stages. “I don’t feel that this kind of technology is yet at a place where I would want it in my family’s healthcare journey,” said Google senior research director Greg Corrado. However, he added that the tech “takes the places in healthcare where AI can be beneficial and expands them by 10-fold.”

Conclusion

Google is testing its Med-PaLM 2 AI chat technology at the Mayo Clinic and other hospitals. The technology is based on the company’s PaLM 2 large language model and has been trained on questions and answers from medical licensing exams. It has demonstrated features like alignment with medical consensus and reasoning ability but has also shown accuracy problems. Google believes the updated model could be of tremendous value in countries with limited access to doctors.

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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