Skip to main content

Guest Post: Artificial Intelligence and Medicine

Guest posts: we sometimes publish posts on a diverse range of topics by contributing authors. Feel free to contact us with any suggestions and we would be happy to consider them

One of the biggest debates raging within medicine has nothing to do with treatments or patients: it has to do with the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in shaping medicine.

Objectively, a computer can process thousands of medical journals, trials, and medications out there and output a solution as good as or even superior to that of a human physician. However, besides lacking empathy and the human connection, AI would lack the judgement calls necessary to apply treatment decisions to patients.

For instance, take the field of oncology. While AI can devise a treatment plan based on probability of response, it would not understand if the patient might be too frail to undergo the treatment, or prefer to delay the treatment until after the patient's daughter's wedding. Some patients might be concerned about hair loss, and would prefer less than ideal treatments. AI works in a rules-based environment, while medicine functions within the irrational, deeply emotional realm of human existence.

AI would ultimately function as a clinical decision aid tool rather a replacement of physicians. It would assist in surgeries, reading scans and making clinical decisions, but would not replace physicians. At least not in the next few decades.

That said, it appears Google knows which specialities AI is targeting. This is a screenshot of Google Autocorrect.
Google autocorrect screenshot: Radiology has certainly been one of AI's targets for decades