Originally Posted by ThePreacherJesse
i was debating this with some doctors who say that it would be impossible to program a computer to make diagnoses as well as they can. i find this pretty ridiculous. whatever thought process/string of questions they would use to analyze the situation are the same that the computer would be programmed to use. the computer would then analyze all available information, ask questions, analyze the answers and assign probabilities. in fact, it seems like this would be way simpler than some of the things computers have already been programmed for. what do u think?
I dont think this is a hypothetical, I think this study has been done, and the computers won. If you were sufficiently motivated to create such a program with any sophistication I think you would win hands down.
The things you would be missing with your computer program is all the subtle pattern-recognition that clinicians pick up and aid them in diagnosis, that they couldnt even put into words and probably dont know what they are doing. This is a big advantage for the doctors over the computers.
However, the thing you avoid with the computer program is the huge amount of bias (availability heuristic, confirmation bias, etc.) that plague most doctors. If you walk into a hospital with the classic symptoms of some extremely bizarre, rare disease, it is far more likely that you do NOT in fact have that disease, even though you look like the literal textbook example, but most doctors are terrible at Bayesian analysis and would call it Syndrome X. The computers would presumably never make this error. The computers would accurately diagnose the common condition more often, and miss the subtle or rare conditions more often.
I think the computers would win by smallish but significant margin. The reason its smallish is because they would both get the right diagnosis the majority of times.