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Computer Aids to Medical Diagnosis

Robert S. Ledley, DDS
JAMA. 1966;196(11):933-943. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100240067015.
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The introduction of agriculture revolutionized ancient man's social, economic, and cultural potential. This was the first great step in the evolution of civilization. The more recent industrial revolution, which vastly increased man's productive capabilities, was the next great step and brought forth our present highly mechanized economic and interdependent social civilization. We are now on the threshold of still another kind of revolution, based on machines that greatly increase man's "thinking" capabilities of planning, analyzing, computing, and controlling. In speaking of the potentialities of computers in our civilization, Julian Huxley has noted that "greater realization of possibilities rather than higher productivity, fulfillment rather than efficiency, will become the overriding aim."1 Computers promise to make readily available to the medical practitioner all the current results of medical research, all the current statistics on disease-symptom relationships, all the current techniques of medical testing and evaluation. In this sense, the computer can


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