STAT+: Google debuts an AI-powered tool to analyze skin conditions

Google on Tuesday debuted an artificial intelligence-powered dermatology tool that analyzes a user’s photos, asks a series of questions, and produces a list of possible causes. Although the tool, an app called “dermatology assist,” remains in the pilot stages in the U.S., Google has received approval from European regulators to market it as a low-risk medical device, enabling the tech giant to release it to some consumers as part of Google search later this year.

While Google executives and researchers expressed high hopes for the web-based tool at Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, several external researchers and clinicians shared a mix of cautious optimism and concern, including about how users will interpret the results and whether it will work equally well on a range of patients, given that the vast majority of dermatology training is performed using images and data from people with white skin. To date, U.S. regulators have yet to approve a single AI-powered dermatology device.

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STAT+: Google debuts an AI-powered tool to analyze skin conditions

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