Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a science that involves creating machines that can imitate human intelligence and learn. AI is ubiquitous in our daily lives, from search engine like Google to home assistants like Alexa and, more recently, OpenAI with its chatbot. AI can improve clinical care and research, but its use requires a solid understanding of its fundamentals, the promises and perils of algorithmic fairness, the barriers and solutions to its clinical implementation, and the pathways to developing an AI-competent workforce.
The potential of AI in the field of nephrology is vast, particularly in the areas of diagnosis, treatment, and prediction. One of the most significant advantages of AI is the ability to improve diagnostic accuracy. Machine learning algorithms can be trained to
recognize patterns in patient data, including lab results, imaging, and medical history, in order to identify early signs of kidney disease and thereby allow timely diagnoses and prompt initiation of treatment plans that can improve outcomes for patients. In short, AI holds the promise of advancing personalized medicine to new levels.
While AI has tremendous potential, there are also significant challenges to its implementation, including data access and quality, data privacy and security, bias, trustworthiness, computing power, AI integration, and legal issues. The European Commission’s proposed regulatory framework for AI technology will play a significant role in ensuring the safe and ethical implementation of these technologies in thehealthcare industry.
Training nephrologists in the fundamentals of AI is imperative because traditionally, decision-making pertaining to the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of renal patients has relied on ingrained practices, whereas AI serves as a powerful tool for swiftly and confidently synthesizing this information.