The Wall Street Journal says that Google is already testing its Med-PaLM 2 AI chat system at the Mayo Clinic and other hospitals. It’s based on the company’s PaLM 2 large language model (LLM), which is also at the heart of Bard, Google’s competitor to ChatGPT. It was just released on Google I/O a few months ago.
Unlike the base model, Med-PaLM-2 has been trained with questions and answers from medical licensing tests as well as a carefully chosen set of demonstrations by medical experts. The report says that means it knows how to answer health-related questions and can also do hard jobs like summarising documents and organizing research data.
Google put out a paper at I/O that talked about its work on Med-PaLM2. On the plus side, it showed things like “alignment with medical consensus,” the ability to think, and even the ability to give answers that people liked better than answers given by doctors. On the other hand, it had the same problems with accuracy that we’ve seen in other Chat AI models.
Microsoft is also working with the healthcare software company Epic to make medical AI chat technology based on OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Google said in March that it is also working on ways to use AI for ultrasound detection and cancer treatment. Both businesses have said that they won’t share patient information and that they don’t use patient data to train their models. Last month, Microsoft was upset that doctors were using its ChatGPT technology to improve how they talked to patients.
In an internal email that was seen by the WSJ, Google said that it thinks the updated model could “be of great use in countries where doctors are harder to find.” Still, Google has said that the technology is still in its early stages. Greg Corrado, Google’s senior research director, said, “I don’t think this kind of technology is yet at a point where I would want it to help my family get health care.” But he also said that the technology “takes the places in healthcare where AI can be helpful and makes them 10 times bigger.”
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