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Showing posts from December, 2015

Pigeon vision: ‘flocksourcing’ cancer detection

Pigeons have been taught how to detect breast cancer -- with an accuracy rate that surpasses humans -- and in the process have inspired ideas about how to better teach humans how to visually detect cancer.
Researchers from the University of California Davis, the University of Iowa, and Emory University published a paper last month detailing how they trained pigeons -- Columba livia, commonly called rock doves, to be precise -- to detect cancerous cells. The birds attained an accuracy rate of 85%, higher than the accuracy of humans doing the task (84%), the Chicago Tribune reported. (Also see the Wall Street Journal for more coverage.)
And when four pigeons were tested on the image and their results combined (“flocksourcing”?), the birds were 99% accurate in identifying cancerous cells.
The researchers also found that while the pigeons had high-accuracy results when looking at slides from tissue samples, they were not able to learn how to accurately identify signs of cancer when loo…