Whenever discussing modern healthcare it is hard not to mention artificial intelligence since AI stands out as a huge hope and fear for future developments. John Kang WebMD, surgical oncologist and healthcare IT specialist, discusses the hype and fear surrounding artificial intelligence as it is now used in healthcare and how it might be used in the future.
John Kang starts by talking about the fact there is a constant increase in the number of tech firms and startups that are now active in AI research and development. There are various possible sophisticated solutions offered for healthcare, ranging from nurse-bots to AI wearables the elderly can use. Most of the AI research done at the moment is highly interesting but it is not yet transformative. John Kang WebMD believes that fear surrounding artificial intelligence is not warranted since almost all new solutions proposed did not manage to improve life expectancy or quality.
The biggest hype surrounding AI use in healthcare comes from aspiring entrepreneurs that believe AI will be the next big thing and that humans will be replaced by machines. Interestingly, this is also the biggest associated fear. What should be known, according to John Kang MC, is that the fear noticed is simply grounded in Sci-Fi culture, not in reality. Computer intelligence does advance much faster than our own intelligence but this actually opens the doors to opportunities, not dangers.
Various reports highlighted that computer speed is doubling every few years. If this keeps happening and we see a 5 times speed increase in the following ten years, inexpensive diagnostic software and machine learning tools can easily become as common for the doctor as we all know the stethoscope is.
Unfortunately, those working in healthcare will be affected if AI keeps evolving. This is a reality. Technology can lower healthcare costs and improve quality. Because of this, there are healthcare jobs that are going to disappear. Studies show that AI can take over around 47% of the entire US employment market if it keeps evolving at the current rate. However, this is not an accurate representation of healthcare. Blue-collar jobs are mostly affected.
John Kang is a truly positive light in the modern healthcare industry since he is one of those that embrace everything that has the potential to improve life quality. Progress is something that can improve lives while lowering healthcare prices. Similarly to how robotics affected manufacturing, artificial intelligence can impact modern medicine. However, the need to have doctors is still strong and will most likely not change. Computers cannot show compassion or empathy and most decisions are made based on probabilities.
Businesses and entrepreneurs will keep investing in the development of artificial intelligence applications. This means hyping all applications. However, even if machine learning can take medicine to a whole new level, this is not going to happen as fast as promised. At the moment we need to keep our feet on the ground and understand that all the hype and fear associated with AI use in healthcare is wildly misunderstood.