What technology might replace doctors?

I don’t have a crystal ball but I’m thinking along the lines of Artificial Intelligence.

“We should stop training radiologists now” — Geoffrey Hinton

While Prof Hinton, the father of Neural Networks might be exaggerating a little, the topic of whether Artificial Intelligence can disrupt medicine is split amongst two opposing poles:

  1. Proponents being computer scientists, AI PhDs, big tech corporations, small startups and AI advocates
  2. Opponents: naturally are mostly healthcare workers like doctors* (with vested interests) and traditionalists

*Note that doctors is a fairly heterogeneous group. While most argue “why disrupt something that isn’t broken?”, there is really quite a growing number of clinicians who want AI to disrupt their career because they believe in the bigger picture. For example the famous Stanford AIMI

As someone who is both a medical doctor and AI scientist, my personal belief is that AI can replace many of the narrow domain aspects of medicine that require immense expertise — Radiology just happens to be one of those. Other specialties like Pathology could also be assisted or gradually replaced by AI. Generally speaking, the less patient contact you have, the more likely AI can replace you.

The verdict is still out there, but I believe in the spirit of innovation. Something tells me doctors won’t ever be entirely replaced — could you imagine chatting about your health concerns with a robot? I certainly can’t.

The human touch is still quintessential to the whole idea of ‘health care’.

Startups like Medgic is truly breaking ground with AI Medicine. It might not be 100% accurate at the start, but as a disciple of Deep Learning technology, it will get there.

I am happy to hear counter arguments 🙂

Have a nice day!