Medicine: Prescription By Computer

Properly programmed, the computer can plot the trajectory of a rocket, keep track of a store's inventory, correlate census data and help predict weather more accurately. But can it be trusted to make the kinds of life-and-death decisions that doctors do? The answer may be yes, according to a team of scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston. The researchers report in the American Journal of Medicine that they have taught a computer to exercise virtually the same clinical judgment that a physician must use in choosing a form of treatment. In the process, they...

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