The outbreak of coronavirus pandemic has somehow set the stage for artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to come into limelight across the healthcare sector. Their services in the crisis have simplified the work for many healthcare professionals including doctors. Where doctors are selflessly working 15-18 hours in hospitals, AI-enabled technologies are assisting their line of work with great efficiency to cure patients. For example, a team headquartered at Boston Children’s Hospital is implementing machine learning to scour through social posts, news reports, data from official public health channels and information supplied by doctors for warning signs that the virus is taking hold in locations outside of China. Besides, AI coupled with robotics capabilities is working as a mechanical healthcare provider for those suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. However, due to such productivity and enhanced features, many fear that AI could replace doctors.
Undeniably, AI has done marvels in the healthcare sector. From radiology to disease detection to drug discovery, the technology has implied that it is poised to stay relevant in the industry with further advancements. However, the advancements do not certainly mean replacing the jobs of medical practitioners. Many experts have agreed that AI is not coming for their jobs, as the world is moving towards a collaborative ecosystem where humans and machines can work in harmony, they believe that the technology may quintessentially assist doctors more proficiently in upcoming years. Some even believe that, even if AI climbs up the ladder of utmost sophistication, it can never match human intelligence and human-level critical/creative thinking.
Let’s explore what experts have to say about it.
Matthew Sappern, CEO at PeriGen
“I think it does things that are really imperative that are not necessarily what nurses can do,” he said. “These tools are not so great where reasoning and empathy are required. You teach them to do something, and they will do it over and over and over again, period. They’re good tools to provide perspective, but it’s all about the provider or nurse who’s making sense of that information.”
He has implied several times that artificial intelligence can aid nurses to focus excessively on the actual job of nursing and abstracts things. According to Mathew, AI possesses the power to enhance the confidence of healthcare professionals while reporting them with exact figures eliminating the vagaries.
Dr. John Showalter, Chief Product Officer at Jvion
Dr. John is extremely dismissive of the claims that medical jobs are in jeopardy. According to him, the hype is scary but the reality is not.
“There are great benefits that do amazing things for patients. When you come in and improve the scoring for falls, for example, and you understand what needs to be done to prevent falls, that’s ready for prime time today.”
“There absolutely places where AI is ready to go today, and then there’s a whole bunch of AI hype that’s really scary, so sorting out the AI that’s ready to help patients and the hype can be really difficult for leadership.”
Eldon Richards, Chief Technology Officer at Recondo Technologies
According to Eldon, AI is now addressing a lot of repetitive tasks that a human might do today.
“In reviewing the ethics of a decision, or complex data or one-off decision, AI is not good at those today. AI is very far off when it comes to those capabilities. The mundane, routine things we do, like typing in a word processor, AI is simplifying those things for us, so now we’re shifting our focus from these simple tasks to things that require a little more training. I certainly do not see unemployment going up.”
Mary Sun, AI Researcher at First Derm and Medical Student at Mount Sinai Medical Center
“People see it as a job replacement thing and I think that’s a pretty flawed way to look at it. In many other industries, like when I was in commercial tech, it’s viewed much more as an augmentation, and piece of mind, and double-checking and making sure that you’re involving patterns that one doctor cannot possibly see.”
“As one doctor, you can’t possibly see a million patients across your lifetime. But medicine, at least diagnosis, is all in the pattern recognition. So I think it’s going to be very exciting when we find ways to augment our diagnoses and make them a lot more robust.”
Carlo Perez, CEO of Swift Medical
“What we feel is the doctor will transition into someone who understands how to wield data science, who understands how to use these tools. Hopefully, someone will not need to truly understand AI but will understand their relationship to it. Which is, ‘I can utilize these tools, I understand these tools, and I understand how to utilize them in partnership to make better decisions.'”