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Computers were as good or better than doctors at detecting tiny lung cancers on CT scans, in a study by researchers from Google and several medical centers.

The technology is a work in progress, not ready for widespread use, but the new report, published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, offers a glimpse of the future of artificial intelligence in medicine.

One of the most promising areas is recognizing patterns and interpreting images — the same skills that humans use to read microscope slides, X-rays, M.R.I.s and other medical scans.

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A colored CT scan showing a tumor in the lung. Artificial intelligence was just as good, and sometimes better, than doctors in diagnosing lung tumors in CT scans, a new study indicates.CreditCreditVoisin/Science Source

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