How artificial intelligence threatens medical professionals in a helpful way.

Imagine the world where all medical decisions and operations are made by a computer. The potential to create advanced algorithms enables AI to work competently and independently in the medical field. But at the same time, it threatens the role of medical professionals.


It may be a discouraging scenario not only for them. AI has and will have an impact on everyone who works in complex, demanding and responsible fields where technology could replace professionalism. This article highlights such a view where the future may institute a grand replacement in hospitals, in which medical professionals will become the minority. Technology will take the lead.

Coming back to the computer. Now, the majority will agree that computers designed for a particular task compute faster than humans think. This task could be medical as well. It sounds optimal to delegate tasks for those being capable to accomplish them the fastest— a computer.

Jumping on a decision-making bandwagon we emphasis speed. More precisely, speed to work with data. Obviously, specialised AI is faster than human in proceeding it. It is enough to compare reading speed to see the difference. Humans are terribly slow.

When it comes to decision making, regardless of its domain — speed is often vital. In medicine, if the right decision is not made at the right time — people die. It is not within medicine where low speed is something to reward.

Computers excel there. We could teach computers to make decisions and how to behave with data, couldn’t we…?

For a moment there is an interesting transformation.

AI could act in helping to diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses or instead they could actually do diagnostics and treatment. Two options. For the advanced computer, humans will become supervisors or assistants.

On the very basic level, computer AI could and does help in administrative work, it prioritises emails or reduces waiting time. Such assistance does not sound complicated. There are plenty ways where Artificial intelligence could be useful. Yet, it may bring even more value when it comes to the transformation into precision medicine where a computer could act independently to do medical stuff.

What is about precision medicine? Wikipedia tells us briefly that this is the medicine model where patients receive customised healthcare so medical decisions are adapted according to the individual case. As if everything were sets of individual information.

Imagine the hospital where you enter the building and instead of receptionist you would meet a board with questions about your case. You enter information and computer gives you a treatment and prescribes some medicine. The board like in McDonald’s where you order a cheeseburger, and it comes to you soon. In hospitals diagnosis and treatment could be the “cheeseburger” to deliver.

Under such climate AI computing models may equate to the doctors’ decisions. It would look at the medical history, current symptoms and the patient like the doctor does. And in the end - would compute a solution. AI the diagnostician!

When we take a doctor and doctor-like AI, the difference could be a human element. Artificial intelligence does not have this. That is probably why it is called this way. But is has something else. Speed and accuracy.

A doctor is a person with medical knowledge and certain mindset.

When we take doctors and doctor-like AI, we always assume information to proceed. Before doctors become doctors they cram medical books and memorise cases to use them in practice. Information that human acquires in 10 years, AI could master in few moments. In theory, AI could download information and upload to the system. Ready to diagnose!

Doctors have mental architecture — AI has an algorithm. Both have something valuable.

Specialised AI provides superior speed in proceeding information and precision. Why? Because algorithm gives this way. A computer even could predict important health events before they actually happen. Sounds as the very useful moment to extend human life and decrease mortality.

It is not only the speed what matters. Accuracy is also the question to consider. When taking any medical professional — a human — we know that sleep deprivation, illness or anything of this kind may lead to a diagnostic mistake. A potential drawback which is not familiar to a computer.

The doctor-like computer may outperform a doctor in terms of learning and thinking speed as well as accuracy. In terms of information, speed and precision human would lag compared with AI. Having organic form may drop the hint to transcend biological limitations. To enlightenment or somewhere else like digital environment. Why? To stay relevant.

So there starts an open concern about the future for medical professionals. For a moment we could employ AI to assist us but if we improve them thousandfold, roles may change. So, in the end, people may become assistants — to charge a computer and implement its decisions. Smells like slavery. But a progressive one.

Thinking in general terms about computer AI and human.

To think is to compute.
A godlike privilege of a creator may not be as cool as it seems in the first place. Look at any atheist and assume that AI starts thinking on his own terms. Think of its obedience if one realises one’s thousandfold superiority if we develop general AI to such degree.

Maybe doctor-like perspective would not satisfy a computer designed for such purpose. Good thing that artificial intelligence is not ambitious or selfish.

When precision medicine takes place, it is more about ethical and legal issue - a very human thing. AI does not care about the law or ethics as it is not AI piece of cake.

Because humans think about the consequences, Artificial intelligence live for the process to fulfill the task it was designed for. To do harm is also a task, AI has no ethics only a programmed one — a politeness algorithm imprinted by humans.

Malpractice may acquire a different meaning for the doctor-like AI. Looking from the evolutionary standpoint things are clear. Technologies are emerging. Humans will adapt and employ it to its progressive goal or get replaced in a medical profession.

To sum up, one thing flows there. A rapid increase in AI capabilities in medical diagnostics may make certain medical professionals less relevant. As AI becomes faster in learning and proceeding information as well as increased precision, then humane intelligence may lose in the competition. A biotic human will never be as fast as a computer, and the computer may never be as humane as humans are. A computer becomes more than a human unless human will transcend its biological limitations.

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