Although Artificial Intelligence (A.I. has existed as a discipline for over half a century, the real breakthrough has only happened in the last few years. A.I. is now making huge advances and we can't even avoid it in medicine. Ghent University Hospital (UZ Gent) is one of the pioneers of A.I. in Belgium. On the 25th of October, alongside other international top speakers, Living Tomorrow and Ghent University (UGent) will bring us up to date on the current situation and give us a glimpse of the future at the 'How will A.I. shape the future of medicine[A1] ' conference.

The fact that A.I, will drastically change medicine, is a given. A.I. and machine learning will soon be everywhere, including in medicine. The Ghent University Hospital has been experimenting with Artificial Intelligence for years and has consequently built up a great deal of expertise. Partly through the Institute for Training and Clinical Innovative Technology (ITCIT), Ghent University Hospital follows new possibilities closely and has a lot of the data and know-how to set up various A.I. projects.

A number of machine learning projects are also underway in the Radiology and Intensive Care departments, often in collaboration with engineers from IDLab (University of Ghent-Imec).  In the Radiology department this concerns automatic image recognition predominantly. In the Intensive Care department A.I. creates predictive models. 

A.I. has a lot of future potential that we can't avoid. It enables us to work more efficiently, more accurately and more cheaply. The great thing is that a computer can take over routine work primarily, leaving doctors to focus more on things that allow them to make a difference.

But we mustn't ignore the potential dangers. A lot of super computers are cloud based. In view of the fact that they are working with patients' data, extra precautions regarding privacy are essential.

Furthermore, a lot of A.I. technologies are so-called "black boxes". Which means the A.I. is not able to explain why it suggests a particular recommendation. This raises a lot of ethical and legal questions.

Nonetheless, A.I. is expected to be able to make huge progress in medicine in the near future, in the fields of research, diagnosis and therapy.

A.I. today and tomorrow

The 'How will AI shape the future of medicine' conference will provide an overview of the current situation and a glimpse of the future. International experts have been invited to Living Tomorrow in Brussels for this.

With Bertalan Mesko, director of The Medical Futurist Institute, Brent Mittelstadt, renowned researcher of the ethical aspects of A.I. in medicine at the University of Oxford, Alexander Mordvintsev, who works as a researcher for Google A.I. and Edouard Auvinet, researcher at Imperial College London; Ghent University Hospital and Living Tomorrow have brought together a number of top international people to share their knowledge.

Naturally, the Ghent University Hospital will also be strongly represented by Prof. Isabelle Van Herzeele and Prof. Kirsten Colpaert as will the University of Ghent with Prof. Sofie Van Hoecke from IdLab (University of Ghent – IMEC). Joan Van Loon, managing director of IMB Healthcare & Life Science makes the list complete.  The chancellor of Ghent University Prof. Rik Van de Walle and the delegated director of Ghent University Hospital Prof. Eric Mortier will give the introduction and the closing words respectively.

In addition to the keynotes, there will also be the opportunity for lively debates with these speakers, under the guidance of the moderator-organisers Prof. Catherine Van Der Straeten and Prof. Johan Decruyenaere from Ghent University Hospital's 'Health Innovation and Research Institute'.