Will Computers Replace Radiologists?

I recently told a radiology resident who demolished the worklist, “You’re a machine.” He beamed with pride. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. But the machine, not content in being imitated, wants to encroach on our turf. CT could scarcely have progressed without progress in computing to horde the glut of thin slices. On two-dimensional projectional images such as abdominal radiographs, arteries reveal themselves only if calcified. With CT, algorithms extract arteries with a click. When I first saw this I was mesmerized, then humbled, and then depressed. With automation, what was my role, aside from clicking the aorta? The role of computers in radiology was predicted as early as 1959 by Lee Lusted,[1] a radiologist and the founder of the Society for Medical Decision Making. Lusted envisioned “an…


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