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Inside the Lab Digital and computational pathology, Microbiology and immunology, Profession, Microscopy and imaging

AI’s Evolving Role

I am excited that AI tools are becoming widely available to extract information from experimental histopathology samples. In research settings, AI has many advantages over visual scoring and manual annotation – in particular, eliminating some tedious and time-consuming tasks; reducing inter-pathologist variability; and offering greater capacity to analyze archived samples. I’ve started to train, validate, test, and use my own algorithms to rapidly identify and quantify regions of interest within Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected lungs. AI can speed up data acquisition – and, unlike human pathologists, algorithms happily operate 24/7. This means that I can set data-extraction and low-level analytical tasks to run overnight. AI cannot replace a pathologist’s interpretation and intellectual contribution regarding mechanisms of disease or hypothesis generation and testing. However, the two – human intelligence and artificial intelligence – can certainly complement each other.

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About the Author

Gillian Beamer

Assistant Professor, Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health, Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Massachusetts, USA.

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