Will AI Replace Doctors? A Brief Overview
Before answering this question of will AI replace doctors, let us understand the growing use of AI in the field of medicine.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been some of the most quickly adopted technologies in a multitude of industries. This can range from manufacturing and finance to medicine and defence. Typically, AI is used to model complex relationships that would be practically impossible for humans because of the sheer amount of data involved.
AI in Medicine
The use of AI in medicine has brought a revolution in how we identify, record, and diagnose patients. The following are the branches of AI that have their own specific applications in medicine.
Genetic algorithms have found a fruitful application in the field of radiology and disease screening. There have been a number of researches on the use of genetic algorithms for breast cancer detection. Likewise, they have been continuously used in the study of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) images.
Data mining is a technique that is used to gather important insights from an enormous amount of data. There is a growing use of this technology in the research and development of new medicines. Likewise, it also finds its use in measuring the effectiveness of medical treatments.
Pattern recognition is also one of the most widely used technologies in the field of medicine. Recording, classification, and interpretation of medical signals and images have been important for doctors in clinical decision making. Some of the specific examples include the detection of eye diseases, hypertension, and cancer cells.
Neural networks are some of the most versatile technologies that have found multiple uses inside the field of medicine. They have a promising future in the modelling of complex human biology. Likewise, they are used in the interpretation of medical images to detect tumours and cancers. Similarly, telemedicine or remote health monitoring is also a great application of neural networks.
So, Will AI Replace Doctors?
The question of will AI replace doctors is a very challenging one. However, you can be pretty confident that AI will work in conjunction with doctors in the near future.
If it is the case that AI replace doctors in the future, the following will be the most common areas.
Patient Health Monitoring
Since a doctor cannot provide personalized monitoring and treatment to hundreds of patients, this is where AI comes in. Medical sensors can provide real-time data about the status of patients and send it to the cloud. Healthcare professionals and doctors can then monitor hundreds of such data and identify those patients who need immediate attention. Likewise, electronic health records will be crucial in studying the development and evolution of diseases.
Imaging and Signal Analysis
If technologies like machine learning and AI replace doctors, medical imaging and signal analysis will be one of the most common areas. Machines powered with artificial intelligence algorithms have been able to understand body signals and detect diseases, tumours, and cancers in image scans. The accuracy of such algorithms has massively increased over the past few years. Furthermore, in third world countries in Asia and Africa, there is a single MRI machine for tens of millions of people.
Without an automated diagnosis system, it is impossible to provide timely health services for all the needy people. Similarly, for remote health monitoring systems, signal analysis systems must be a top priority as there is tons of data involved. Moreover, AI and ML can learn the nature of pandemics and support in their containment.
One of the most promising fields where technologies like nanorobots and AI replace doctors is complex surgeries. Nanobots can precisely reach the targeted areas in the human body. They can carry required doses of chemicals and medicines within the cells. Similarly, they can report the status of the human organs and automatically classify and report different stages. This will eliminate the need for large cuts and unnecessary interventions inside the human body. Furthermore, even in nonrobotic surgeries, gesture recognition applications have allowed surgeons to view the inners of the body without a controller in hand.
Now, let us learn some of the areas where human doctors are still vital over machines.
Even if technologies like robotics, nanotechnology, and AI replace doctors, there is always one thing missing: the human touch. Through years of research and practice, humans have somewhat mastered the art of empathy. It is still too early to say that AI will calm a patient undergoing surgery or interact rightly with a patient on anaesthesia. Furthermore, not everyone will feel confident that machines are working inside their body. Likewise, they will likely not let machines make a life-altering decision and recommend medicines without the guidance of doctors.
Understanding Never-Before-Seen Circumstances
Although AI will improve upon its problem-solving skills in the future, it is still immature in terms of creativity. Not all patient cases are straightforward and they cannot be estimated with the help of past data. Likewise, not all patients will live the same lifestyle and in the same environment. Sometimes, there might be a never-before-seen case even for experienced doctors. In this case, they might have to consult others in their community and also call for a joint investigation. We should never forget that the knowledge that humans have today is based upon thousands of years of trial and error. AI will likely not have the ability to adapt and solve new types of problems as humans.
Operating AI-powered Machines
Even though AI can crunch tons of numbers and analyze signals and images, they still need monitoring from humans. Even though surgical robots have greater precision in terms of movement, they are still being operated by human doctors. In many cases, data and information learned by machines still need to be inspected and verified by experienced doctors. Furthermore, humans will still have to tell AI where to go and what to do and then it can handle the complex calculations that come after.
Paperworks and Administration
Healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses do more than diagnosis and treatment. Since medicine is a critical field full of life or death situations, there is a lot of paperwork involved. Doctors will still have to carry out administrative tasks that will be difficult and time-consuming for intelligent machines.
In this blog, we have learned how and where can AI replace doctors and where human knowledge and reasoning still comes out on top. AI will certainly change the way medicine and healthcare are delivered, but it is very unlikely that they will take jobs from doctors. Most importantly, we must understand that it is not our need for one to replace the other. AI will possibly take care of data crunching, modelling relationships, and analyzing images and signals. On the other hand, medical professionals can focus more on finding new ways of treatment and new medicines. Since they can work much better in conjunction than in isolation, we must find ways to make this possible.
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