An AI-Powered Chatbot Is Helping Doctors Diagnose Patients

WebMD has some new competition.

10. 13. 16 by Jelor Gallego
Image by Baidu

Chatbots powered by AI are all the rage nowadays. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, all are developing chatbots that can not only decipher speech, but also understand the meaning behind those words.

Chinese search giant Baidu wants to take that all one step further. The company just unveiled Melody, an AI-powered chatbot tailored for the medical field.


The bot is able to chat with patients, getting them to reveal symptoms, and then transmits that data to doctors, along with a partial analysis. Suppose a patient is sick, all he has to do is post a query to Melody. The chatbot will keep asking questions to gather more data. That data is then compared to all the previous medical knowledge Melody has stored. After that, the symptoms and possible diagnosis is sent to the doctor, who will recommend the next steps.

To do all this, Melody has been outfitted with neural networks, and has been trained on medical textbooks, records, and messages between actual patients and doctors.


Melody has been integrated with Baidu’s Doctor app for Android and iOS, but if you’re reaching for a phone to download the app, hold your horses. Melody is currently trained only in Chinese, and the English version still needs more work.

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