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Chester the AI Radiology Assistant is a web-based system for diagnosing chest X-ray images. The free to use tool allows users to upload an X-ray within their web browser to receive a diagnosis on 14 diseases, such as pneumonia and emphysema. The AI was trained using data from the NIH Clinical Center, which in 2017 released over 100,000 anonymized chest x-ray images and their corresponding data to the scientific community.

Chester is a prototype that was created to show the potential of deep learning and the value of open data. While it certainly achieved those objectives, it contains two other powerful takeaways for you:

Power with privacy. Consumers have woken up that many of their magical technological superpowers almost always come at a cost: privacy. Today, every business that leverages customer data (all of you, right?) contends with the challenge of data security. The stakes are particularly high in financial services (see yesterday’s look at the Apple Card) and healthcare. Chester’s bold solution? The processing of the patient data occurs locally within the browser. It isn’t transmitted to a remote server and therefore vulnerable to interception. US CEOs, who are more worried about cybersecurity than a recession, take note: if you don’t collect the customer data, it can’t be stolen, and your name won’t be trending on Twitter! Are you investing time and resources in protecting against a threat of your own making? Can you offer data-powered benefits without capturing data? A riddle worth solving!

Access for all (no, really). AI-powered radiology has been on the cards for some time - IBM, for one, was demoing Watson’s capabilities back in 2016. What’s truly inspiring about this initiative, is the creators of Chester made a working example of how AI can boost access and outcomes for billions of people around the world. Today, there’s no shortage of Millennial pink DTC healthcare startups claiming ‘accessibility’ is their purpose. Peel back the cutesy branding and it’s usually ‘accessibility for those who can afford it.’ Chester’s creators didn’t make some grand statement. They got to work. They built a tool. It’s free. It works (with 80% accuracy). All you need is a smartphone. Don’t claim to be ‘disruptive’ if all you’re doing is serving the already well-served. Blow open the f*cking doors! PS. I only just spotted that ‘Chester’ is a pun, and a very good one, too.