Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: “Am I a real Boy?”

United Nations Robot Sophia 2018

UN Photo/Manuel Elias Sophia, a humanoid robot created by Hanson Robotics, participates in a meeting at UN Headquarters on “The Future of Everything – Sustainable Development in the Age of Rapid Technological Change.”

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Ahmed Rafay Afzal, a medical student from King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan, currently pursuing a career in United States. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In the long forgotten lores of eastern medicine, the doctors were called “Hakeem”. I happen to be a descendant of one of those hakeems. The word “Hakeem” comes from the Arabic word “Hikmat” which means wisdom or all-knowing. Unfortunately, I a doctor of real medicine, do not enjoy that status anymore as compared to my great-great-grandfather who was a “Hakeem”.

Today whenever I interact with patients more often than not I encounter questions like, “I read about this on the web…”, “I hear what you are saying but I think you’re wrong because medscape says otherwise…”, “I googled my symptoms and I think I have cancer…”

The point being that the state of medicine has transformed from witchcraft to  scribbled prescriptions to Electronic Health Records. We have made giant leaps forward. We used to develop medical protocols keeping general principles and populations in mind, but with the advent of digital health, precision medicine has been making the rounds.

All this happens by the magic of Artificial Intelligence, which makes the patient the point of importance, creates a large amount of statistical data about an individual and gives medical professionals tools to sort through and analyze that data.

With such huge amounts of data it has almost become impossible for a physician to analyze it. This is where machine learning comes into play, although not objectively artificial intelligence, machine learning is the still the biggest arsenal available for the physicians who are embracing the new onslaught of technology in the medical field.

National Institute of Health defines precision medicine as an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle for each person.1 This approach involves algorithms which use supercomputers to mine data with the help of machine learning and deep learning. These algorithms can not only generate patterns which physicians can use in their practice they have also been applied in making diagnosis almost as accurately as doctors in the field of cardiac sciences.2

Same goes for radiology where machine learning algorithms can accurately pick out pathologies in radiological scans. When combined with the results of a pathologist the success rate increased upto 99.5%.3 Machine learning softwares have been written that help record the patient-doctor encounter, hence reducing the workload of the physician by writing his notes for him.With the current status quo of machine learning it might not be sufficient to replace a physician but there is enough evidence to argue that machine learning can definitely supplement a physician even in its current relatively untested phase.

It’s not all good news however, A.I. has its technological and medical limitations. A computer cannot do a physical exam, it doesn’t have the cognitive ability of a physician, it doesn’t have compassion and it can’t feel for the patient. There is also an ethical consideration to be made. Just like humans, A.I. is also flawed, who is to blame when the A.I. makes a wrong decision regarding patient care. Would the society ever entrust a machine to deal with the intricate details of health records including sensitive data e.g sexual history or HIV status?

Would a human ever be comfortable giving a medical history to a machine? Is there a place for replicating empathy in healthcare? How would the paradigm of human-machine interactions work in healthcare setting and what laws would govern that interaction? These are just a few of the questions that we haven’t answered yet. Even though in other industries the use of A.I. like for example in autonomous cars, where Rogers K. Germany has developed the first ethical guidelines for driverless cars.4

There is also another issue with misconceptions and over-exaggerations about the potential of A.I. Artificial Intelligence is revolutionary, no doubt, but its not the answer to every problem that we have in healthcare.

However one thing is for sure Artificial Intelligence will not replace physicians, however, physicians who employ A.I. will replace those who don’t.

References:

1.(Collins F Precision Medicine Initiative | National Institutes of Health (NIH) [Internet]. National Institutes of Health. 2015. Accessed online on the 25th of April, 2018 from:https://www.nih.gov/precision-medicine-initiative-cohort-program)

2.Luo G, Sun G, Wang K, et al. A novel left ventricular volumes prediction method based on deep learning network in cardiac MRI. Comput Cardiol [Internet]. 2010;2017:2–5. Available from:

http://www.cinc.org/archives/2016/pdf/028-224.pdf

3.Wang D, Khosla A, Gargeya R, et al. Deep learning for identifying metastatic breast cancer. eprint arXiv:1606.05718, Publication Date:06/2016. [Google Scholar]

4Available from:https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/599wnz/germany-has-created-the-worlds-first-ethical-guidelines-for-driverless-cars [Google Scholar]

About the author

Ahmed Rafay Afzal is a medical student from King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan, currently pursuing a career in United States. His primary field of interest is pediatrics. His current focus is research in pediatric Gastroenterology and on revamping the healthcare system of Pakistan with introduction of digital technology.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Energy: EU priority projects should be aligned with 2050 climate objectives

What are antibody tests and can they get the world back to work?

The 3 traps when it comes to blockchain and business – and how to avoid them

The Dead Sea is drying up, and these two countries have a plan to save it

Parliament approves seven-year EU budget 2021-2027

Baby foods high in sugar, inappropriately marketed in Europe, reveal two UN studies

‘Embrace the transformation’ to a carbon-neutral world by 2050, UN chief tells COP25

MEPs call for concrete details and novel tools to address the economic crisis

Transparency and tech together can safeguard taxpayers’ money

Commission adopts White Paper on foreign subsidies in the Single Market

Humanitarian migration falls while labour and family migration rises

More than one million sexually transmitted infections occur every day: WHO

As Libya talks resume in Geneva, UN negotiator seeks to overcome sticking points

Everybody for himself in G20 and IMF

EU Trade Ministers come together in a desperate attempt to save TTIP

UN emergency relief fund has ‘never been more critical’: Guterres

‘Starvation’ now a reality for displaced Syrians stranded in camp near Jordanian border

FROM THE FIELD: One teen’s journey from refugee camp to US school principal

Building back business: Avoiding a trade-off between resilience and growth

Italian archaeological trafficking group dismantled

Amazon wildfires are tomorrow’s breathtaker

MWC 2016 LIVE: Verizon boasts momentum for IoT platform

Only the private sector can help deliver universal healthcare in Africa

Towards a climate-neutral Europe: EU invests over €10bn in innovative clean technologies

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

Remain united for Syrians, UN envoy de Mistura urges Security Council

Globalization 4.0 will help us tackle climate change. Here’s how

We don’t need to ban plastic. We just need to start using it properly

What is the IMF telling Eurozone about fiscal and banking unification?

How technology and play can power high-quality learning in schools

COVID-19 creates a perfect storm for the extreme weather season

Canada and EU officially sign the trade agreement that could open-up the road to TTIP

To feed 10 billion people, we must preserve biodiversity. Here’s how

Customs Union: Fake and potentially dangerous goods worth nearly €740 million stopped at EU customs in 2018

EU accused of being too nice with Gazprom in the infamous antitrust case

Here’s how blockchain could fight illegal fishing and help tuna stocks recover

We need impartial LGBT+ news to advance human rights

Ursula von der Leyen: ‘We must not hold onto yesterday’s economy as we rebuild’

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

Long-term EU budget: MEPs slam cuts to culture and education

New energy Projects of Common Interest for the Energy Union built on European solidarity

It’s time for financial services to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here’s why

5 things fighting malaria can teach us about Universal Health Coverage

UN conference agrees better ways for Global South countries to work together on sustainable development

EU announces record €550 million contribution to save 16 million lives from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Coronavirus COVID-19 wipes $50 billion off global exports in February alone, as IMF pledges support for vulnerable nations

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

Coronavirus: Using European supercomputing, EU-funded research project announces promising results for potential treatment*

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

Trade war or not New York bankers will have it their way

How the Middle East is suffering on the front lines of climate change

Impact of high debt levels on least developed countries ‘cannot be overstated’, says UN

This is how AI can help you make sense of the world

Dual Food Quality: Commission releases study assessing differences in the composition of EU food products

West Africa ‘shaken by unprecedented violence’, UN envoy tells Security Council

China has made a shocking food production discovery – electro culture

Have Europe’s Ukrainian wounds begun to heal?

Mental Health of Health Professionals Facing COVID-19

West Darfur tensions could see 30,000 flee across Sudanese border to Chad: UN refugee agency

More Stings?

Advertising

Trackbacks

  1. […] In the long forgotten lores of eastern medicine, the doctors were called “Hakeem”. This is where machine learning comes into play, although not objectively artificial intelligence, machine learning is the still the biggest arsenal available for the physicians who are embracing the new onslaught of technology in the medical field. Read More […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s