Novartis, Pfizer, Centene CEOs on AI's limitations in healthcare

Though researchers continue to make strides in using artificial intelligence to monitor patient health, identify diseases and analyze imaging tests, executives at pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis and Pfizer are less convinced of the technology's potential in drug discovery, according to The Wall Street Journal.

During the Journal's Health Forum on April 30, Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan, MD, said he is skeptical that AI can do better than human experts at predicting drug outcomes or reacting to the rapid advancement of complex diseases. Though the Swiss pharma giant has invested heavily in AI, the algorithms have been most successful in forecasting financial results and clinical trial enrollment, Dr. Narasimhan said.

Ian C. Read, executive chairman of Pfizer, said the New York City-based company sees similar restrictions in its own use of AI. "Using AI in drug discovery is extremely difficult and unlikely to be productive in the near term because our understanding of biology is not as deep as we'd like to believe it to be," Mr. Read said.

Insurance companies, too, remain wary of AI's limits. Centene CEO Michael Neidorff said that, while the St. Louis-based insurer uses algorithms to predict and identify opioid addiction, physicians still have the final say in diagnosis and treatment. "You have to understand what data's limitations are," he said.

More articles about AI:
FDA exploring use of AI, blockchain to monitor food safety
Accenture uses Google AI to combat loneliness in aging population
AstraZeneca partners with machine learning firm for drug discovery

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