A man has praised OpenAI’s latest model GPT-4 for helping to save his dog’s life after a vet couldn’t figure out a diagnosis.
“Cooper,” who prefers to remain anonymous, lives in Eastern Europe. He was caring for 2-year-old border collie Sassy, who was suffering from a tick-bone disease, when her condition suddenly deteriorated.
“Her anemia was getting worse, but when I asked the original vet why that might be they didn’t know,” Cooper told Newsweek. “They just recommended we admit her for monitoring and I was thinking, if we don’t determine the problem and treat it, how could her condition ever improve?”
This was when he turned to OpenAI’s latest GPT-4 model. Hailed as part of the AI revolution, the software took the world by storm when it was released in November 2022.
Using prompts from humans, the technology can answer questions and even craft essays on a seemingly endless list of topics. Between February 22 and 28, the software was accessed 306.5 million times according to web-traffic analysis site SimilarWeb—placing it ahead of the search engine Bing.
Familiar with the software, Cooper decided to try it out to see if he could get to the bottom of Sassy’s condition.
“I had already used it quite a lot for various unrelated problems in unrelated domains,” he said. “So I had a general understanding of what it does well. Recognizing patterns in data is one of the things it is really great at—and diagnostics being exactly that, I gave it a shot.”
Starting with symptoms and facts, the dog owner input the data he had about Sassy’s condition, including the tests that the vet had run and their results, asking the AI for its opinion on the most likely diagnosis.
The software provided opinions and thoughts based on the information prompts Cooper provided, but also frequently reiterated that it was not a veterinarian or medical expert and could not provide a definitive diagnosis.
It is essential that anyone concerned about the health of a pet contact a trained veterinarian. While the AI tool can have positive implications, there are increasing concerns about the technology’s ability to produce and spread misinformation according to NewsGuard, which reported that the latest GPT-4 iteration of the technology is more likely to generate a false narrative.
However, GPT-4 did assist Cooper to establish what could be going on with his dog and take the next steps.
“It helped clue me in that there was definitely an additional underlying condition our dog could have, and the ‘wait and see’ approach wouldn’t work,” he said. “Of course, the actual life saving was done by humans, but it definitely pushed me in the direction of getting a second opinion and recognizing there were more things we could do to save our dog’s life.”
In a list of potential causes for the dog’s condition, GPT-4 suggested that Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) was the best fit for Sassy’s symptoms.
Sharing the outcome on Twitter, Cooper quickly gained viral attention, with many impressed by the capabilities of the AI software.
The diagnostics from GPT-4 prompted Cooper to seek a second opinion and the vet said that IMHA could be a possible cause of Sassy’s condition. After taking a blood sample, the diagnosis was confirmed.
“I strongly believe there are more lives that can be saved with the help of this technology,” said Cooper. “It’s by no means a replacement for humans, but rather it could be a splendid tool in the hands of veterinarians.
“The reality is, humans aren’t perfect. We get tired, we miss things and sometimes we make mistakes,” he added. “Having an AI assistant that is always plugged in providing helpful info at every step would help prevent some mistakes.”
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