Will A.I. (artificial intelligence) replace doctors?

Undoubtedly, the concept and ability of Artificial Intelligence is becoming more prominent in most jobs, making the skills and abilities of people in many careers redundant[1]. However, in a job that is very people and skills-oriented, can this be the case? Will A.I replace doctors?
From any perspective, it is clear to see that AI is transforming the world of medicine. A 2013 study from KAIST University, South Korea, revealed that an AI system was better than radiologists in using chest x-rays and mammography images to detect signs of cancer, boasting a 97% success rate[2]. Four years subsequent to this, reported by radiologists in the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, it became clear that AI could be used to detect Pulmonary Tuberculosis. In fact, during the study, it outperformed doctors, with a sensitivity of 97.3%[3]. Both of these studies highlight just how useful AI can be when implemented into the healthcare industry. It seems obvious that increased use of AI would be advantageous in more frequent successful diagnoses. Perhaps more impressive, computer-controlled robots have recently performed open bowel surgery on a pig. Whilst the robot did take significantly longer than its human counterpart to do so, they were able to make smaller, accurate stitches[4]. This kind of precision is often vital in patient welfare, as it results in a better recovery.
However, a doctor’s role is not limited to performing surgery or analysing x-rays. Truthfully, compassion plays a large role in patient diagnosis[5]. The detached voice and actions of AI may not have the same impact on the patient as a doctor who has been taught to empathise and would be able to calmly and helpfully explain your prognosis and the next steps for a patient’s treatment. In most major diagnoses, you need reassurance that you are okay, and AI seems unlikely to deliver this, namely because they aren’t human; you cannot replace the comfort of a person with a lump of metal. Furthermore, even using AI to aid in diagnosis can be risky as it poses the risk of breaches in confidentiality as well as the safety of patients. In the Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting, Tom Mahler demonstrated the ease with which a hacker could bypass a CT machine’s security mechanisms and manipulate its behaviour. The threat of a change of dose of radiation within a CT machine could impact the image quality or, more importantly, the health of the patient[6]. So, can we really trust A.I as a stand-alone replacement for doctors? Realistically, if patients were aware of these risks, it is unlikely that they would agree to this change.
In answer to the question, It seems unlikely that A.I will replace doctors. Whilst A.I provide benefits to the medical industry, it seems they would be used as a tool for increased accuracy in diagnosis and surgery as opposed to a substitute for a doctor. The risks of A.I ensure that, currently, they would be unable to improve the medical industry as much as they would be able to threaten it. Therefore, I do not believe that the presence of A.I in the industry will threaten the role of doctors or lead to their termination.
Bibliograpy

  1. BBC News. (2019). Automation \’could replace 1.5 million jobs\’. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47691078 [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].
  2. Towers-Clark, C. (2019). The Cutting-Edge Of AI Cancer Detection. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestowersclark/2019/04/30/the-cutting-edge-of-ai-canc er-detection/ [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].
  3. Lakhani, P. and Sundaram, B. (2017). Deep Learning at Chest Radiography: Automated Classification of Pulmonary Tuberculosis by Using Convolutional Neural Networks. Radiology, [online] 284(2), pp.574-582. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28436741/.
  4. Feltman, R. (2016). Robots are doing animal surgery all on their own. Will they soon be operating on you?. [online] The Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/05/04/robots-are-d oing-animal-surgery-all-on-their-own-will-they-soon-be-operating-on-you/ [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].
  5. BBC News. (2013). How important is compassion in healthcare?. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22773043 [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].
  6. DeNisco Rayome, A. (2018). How hospitals can use AI to fight medical device hacking. [online] TechRepublic. Available at: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-hospitals-can-use-ai-to-fight-medical-device-ha cking/ [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].

Will A.I. (artificial intelligence) replace doctors?
Undoubtedly, the concept and ability of Artificial Intelligence is becoming more prominent in most jobs, making the skills and abilities of people in many careers redundant[1]. However, in a job that is very people and skills-oriented, can this be the case? Will A.I replace doctors?
From any perspective, it is clear to see that AI is transforming the world of medicine. A 2013 study from KAIST University, South Korea, revealed that an AI system was better than radiologists in using chest x-rays and mammography images to detect signs of cancer, boasting a 97% success rate[2]. Four years subsequent to this, reported by radiologists in the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, it became clear that AI could be used to detect Pulmonary Tuberculosis. In fact, during the study, it outperformed doctors, with a sensitivity of 97.3%[3]. Both of these studies highlight just how useful AI can be when implemented into the healthcare industry. It seems obvious that increased use of AI would be advantageous in more frequent successful diagnoses. Perhaps more impressive, computer-controlled robots have recently performed open bowel surgery on a pig. Whilst the robot did take significantly longer than its human counterpart to do so, they were able to make smaller, accurate stitches[4]. This kind of precision is often vital in patient welfare, as it results in a better recovery.
However, a doctor’s role is not limited to performing surgery or analysing x-rays. Truthfully, compassion plays a large role in patient diagnosis[5]. The detached voice and actions of AI may not have the same impact on the patient as a doctor who has been taught to empathise and would be able to calmly and helpfully explain your prognosis and the next steps for a patient’s treatment. In most major diagnoses, you need reassurance that you are okay, and AI seems unlikely to deliver this, namely because they aren’t human; you cannot replace the comfort of a person with a lump of metal. Furthermore, even using AI to aid in diagnosis can be risky as it poses the risk of breaches in confidentiality as well as the safety of patients. In the Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting, Tom Mahler demonstrated the ease with which a hacker could bypass a CT machine’s security mechanisms and manipulate its behaviour. The threat of a change of dose of radiation within a CT machine could impact the image quality or, more importantly, the health of the patient[6]. So, can we really trust A.I as a stand-alone replacement for doctors? Realistically, if patients were aware of these risks, it is unlikely that they would agree to this change.
In answer to the question, It seems unlikely that A.I will replace doctors. Whilst A.I provide benefits to the medical industry, it seems they would be used as a tool for increased accuracy in diagnosis and surgery as opposed to a substitute for a doctor. The risks of A.I ensure that, currently, they would be unable to improve the medical industry as much as they would be able to threaten it. Therefore, I do not believe that the presence of A.I in the industry will threaten the role of doctors or lead to their termination.
Bibliograpy

  1. BBC News. (2019). Automation \’could replace 1.5 million jobs\’. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47691078 [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].
  2. Towers-Clark, C. (2019). The Cutting-Edge Of AI Cancer Detection. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestowersclark/2019/04/30/the-cutting-edge-of-ai-canc er-detection/ [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].
  3. Lakhani, P. and Sundaram, B. (2017). Deep Learning at Chest Radiography: Automated Classification of Pulmonary Tuberculosis by Using Convolutional Neural Networks. Radiology, [online] 284(2), pp.574-582. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28436741/.
  4. Feltman, R. (2016). Robots are doing animal surgery all on their own. Will they soon be operating on you?. [online] The Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/05/04/robots-are-d oing-animal-surgery-all-on-their-own-will-they-soon-be-operating-on-you/ [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].
  5. BBC News. (2013). How important is compassion in healthcare?. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22773043 [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].
  6. DeNisco Rayome, A. (2018). How hospitals can use AI to fight medical device hacking. [online] TechRepublic. Available at: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-hospitals-can-use-ai-to-fight-medical-device-ha cking/ [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].

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