AI miracle cure in the making

Work on project expected to start within two months

Safdar Rizvi July 12, 2019

KARACHI: Artificial Intelligence (AI) could soon be playing an important role at hospitals across the country, performing important diagnostic tests and even surgeries with greater precision than surgeons. Such medical advances are expected under the federal government’s first Artificial Intelligence project.

Approved last week by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), Artificial Intelligence (AI) is among 35 projects planned by the prime minister’s Task Force on Technology Driven Knowledge Economy. To promote AI, the CDWP will set up a Postgraduate Center for AI in agriculture and health sciences at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at the University of Karachi.

The ICCBS will function under the Ministry of Science and Technology for the development of AI project, which is expected to cost Rs. 525.68 million. About 75 per cent of the project’s funds will be dedicated to AI in health science during the current fiscal year.

Commenting on the project, Dr Attaur Rahman, who heads the PM’s task force for the knowledge economy, said: “The first phase of the project will focus on Artificial Intelligence in health science.”

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“Work on the project will commence within two months of the release of funds,” Rahman added.

The AI project is expected to cover human resource training for various health fields, including medical diagnostics related to MRI, X-Ray and CT scan. The technology will allow diagnostic testing through robotic examination.

In addition, the AI project will also assist in the automation of medical record-keeping, remote supervision of surgical procedures and robotic surgery for cancer and other diseases.

According to the CDWP working paper, the facilities proposed for AI in the health sector include applications for AI-driven monitoring as well as an application for surgical operations through automated devices.

Dr Attaur Rahman further said that health professionals will be sent for training to various countries including China, Canada, and United States, where they are expected to learn the usage of AI applications for diagnosis.

“This program is based on commercial interest,” said Rahman, adding that staff at the center would be sent abroad for research and training.

“In the next phase, we will seek help from the private sector for the marketing of AI applications,” Rahman added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2019.


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