Robot passes China's medical licensing examination

Xiao Yi, a robot developed by Tsinghua University has passed China's National Medical Licensing Examination, scoring 456, exceeding the acceptance line by 96 points. Xiao Yi is the first robot in China to take the full exam of 600 marks.

Xiaoyi studied around a million medical images, 53 medical books, two million medical records, and 400,000 pages of medical literature and medical reports before sitting for the test, said Wu Ji, director of the joint lab.

Answering critics who point out that the robot only works due to its formidable memory, Wu explained that the medical examination questions vary every year.

Wu claims the robot's study, reasoning and its ability to make judgment also play a part in Xiaoyi's success.

However, the robot is not likely to replace human doctors, noted Tao Xiaodong, a project manager at iFlyTek, adding that the robot cannot flexibly use the knowledge it possesses, as there are often unforeseen circumstances during actual diagnosis and treatment. iFLYTEK, a Chinese information technology company creates voice recognition software and voice-based internet/mobile products covering education, communication, music.

The robot will be put in service from March next year in medical education and training, and will assist doctors in clinical diagnosis and treatment to improve diagnosis accuracy and shorten treatment time.

During the examination, the Xiao Yi was asked to demonstrate a "reasoning process" when deciding how to treat symptoms, instead of regurgitating the information back.

Wu Ji, deputy boss of the university's electronic engineering department said: "Its score is 96 points above the acceptance line.

"This shows that it has indeed mastered the medical knowledge and clinical knowledge, and it has owned the basic ability to employ the knowledge to solve some problems."

Although the robot has flaunted superior knowledge, researchers warn it is still a long way from becoming a qualified doctor.