Earlier this month, a Chinese medical robot named Xiaoyi achieved a passing score of 456 on China’s medical licensing exam. It might not exactly be a score that would make you comfortable entrusting your health to it – a passing score is 360 out of 600. But it’s an impressive result considering the robot scored 100 in its first practice run.
Xiaoyi (which means “little doctor”) is a collaboration between Chinese IT company iFlyTek and Tsinghua University in Beijing. It was developed to test if AI can be effective in identifying links between words, sentences, paragraphs, and other natural language features to develop a capacity to reason.
Its much improved score is certainly a demonstration that Xiaoyi has the capacity not only to reason, but to learn and make judgements by itself. After its first pitiful attempt, Xiaoyi was trained by processing dozens of medical textbooks, 2 million medical records, and 400,000 articles. While that was effective enough for it to breeze through the questions that involved memorization and information recall, it didn’t fare quite as well when it came to answering questions about patient cases.
So for now, you can rest easy knowing Xiaoyi won’t be replacing your primary care physician. But the technology could prove useful in correlating symptoms quicker and making clinically useful suggestions to doctors.