The character of Iron Man appears for the first time in Marvel Tales Of Suspense, n.39 from 1963, written by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber, Stan’s younger brother, and drawn by Don Heck and Jack Kirby.
Billionaire genius Tony Stark is wounded and kidnapped in Vietnam where his jailers try to force him to work on devising the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Secretly, however, the owner of Stark Industries builds, with the help of his cellmate, the first prototype of an armor that would allow him to escape and return free, albeit wounded by the famous splinter near his heart, to the United States, becoming from that moment the Invincible Iron Man.
Over the years the armors covering Tony Stark have evolved along with the times, so much so that they have been enhanced with Artificial Intelligence, making blurry the boundary between the conscience of the machine and the one of the man.
But let’s see how today the resources of Artificial Intelligence can be applied to the field of diagnosis and medical care, in digital imaging in particular, and the important role that the medical physics specialist plays in this role.
Artificial Intelligence defines the possibility of transferring to machines, such as computers, some skills typical of human intelligence, such as reasoning and learning skills.
This possibility was theorized in the 1930s, particularly by the studies of Alan Turing and Claude Shannon. In the late 1950s, Frank Rosenblatt offered the first example of a neural network, an electronic device with learning skills inspired by the functioning of the human brain.
Only in recent decades, thanks to technological evolution, it has been possible to use Artificial Intelligence in a widespread way to analyze large amounts of data and learn complex information.
In the medical field, the data are represented by all the information that comes from the medical procedures and specialized examinations carried out on patients. Artificial Intelligence attempts to identify useful information to make diagnoses that are more precise and to choose the best therapy for each patient.
Possible data sources include radiological images, such as CT, MRI or PET scans. In this case, Artificial Intelligence tries to learn information about the disease that is impressed in the images, but that cannot be identified by the doctor via a visual analysis.
In this context, the Medical Physics Specialist plays an important role because he deals with analyzing the images and data obtained from them, also supporting the doctor in the validation and the use of Artificial Intelligence based software, with the aim of making its use in the clinical practice an informed, efficient and safe one.