AI this, AI that — that seems to be all that I am hearing about these days. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

At first, my thought was AI is beyond me — that’s for the young kids. Then I thought, I better do some research into AI so I don’t get left in the dust. So for the last few months I have been doing my own research and experimenting with AI — both in general and more specifically about AI’s role in medicine. It is clear to me that AI is here to stay and that it is already playing a role in medicine — that role is just going to get bigger and bigger.

I recently downloaded (and paid $59 for a year’s subscription) to “Chatbot.” I asked the Chatbot “Will AI’s implementation in medicine get rid of the need for doctors?” See the Chatbot’s response below in italics. Boy was I glad to hear I will still have a job in five years!

“– No, AI’s implementation in medicine will not get rid of the need for doctors. While AI has the potential to complement doctors in many areas of healthcare, it cannot replace the unique skills and expertise that a human doctor provides. Doctors play a critical role in providing patient care, including building relationships with patients, making decisions based on clinical judgement, and providing emotional support. These human interactions are essential to patient care and are not replicable by AI. Moreover, AI is just one tool that medical professionals can utilize, and it’s not a substitute for the specialized medical knowledge, training, and experience that doctors have. Although AI may be able to assist in diagnosing and treating medical conditions, it’s still up to the doctor to make the final decisions and actions when it comes to patient care. In conclusion, AI technology can undoubtedly enhance the quality of care that doctors can provide, but it can never replace human doctors entirely.”

I wanted to see how accurate the Chatbot response is to a simple medical query; so I queried the treatment approach for acute diverticulitis on April 12th — and the response was inaccurate and actually dangerous on that initial query (it recommended a high fiber diet in the setting of acute diverticulitis; a high fiber diet would bulk up the stool and increase the risk for bowel perforation in the setting of inflammation of the bowel). Two weeks later I made the same query; this time the Chatbot response is accurate and my guess is it will never make that initial mistake to my question now that it has been corrected.

While I still don’t fully understand AI, I will continue to pursue improved knowledge and understanding of AI. And as I learn more and as AI improves, I will undoubtedly be implementing it into my practice — or I will be left behind.