Artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionise the field of medicine and healthcare by rendering redundant certain medical professions, especially radiology, according to ophthalmologist Dr Dinesh Verma, who also advises aspirants against the pursuit of medical degrees in certain fields.

At the recently held MOG Sundays talk titled ‘A Future World Without Doctors? Rise of AI & Robotics in Medicine’ at the Museum of Goa, Pilerne; Verma stated that AI can read scans from X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as “all these involve digital pattern recognition and AI can read millions of scans in an instant and diagnose the disease after being programmed accordingly.”

“From an employment perspective, people ought to be informed that they should not opt for radiology, as human professionals are no longer required in this field as the tests carried out by AI will already be programmed with necessary intelligence. Instead, we require more programmers and technicians who create the tests,” he stated.

Verma also mentioned that AI will eradicate human biases through objective diagnosis and treatment, ultimately replacing human doctors.

“It is more beneficial that AI lacks empathy and other emotions that can impede diagnosis and treatment. When training as doctors, we were explicitly told to be objective and not get emotionally involved with the patient. We were also told never to operate on our relatives,” said Verma. 

Verma stated that as AI lacks an emotional stake in the patient, biases like religion, caste, race, gender and more are negated. 

“This will lead to the rise of a new profession, which I call ‘Empathisers’. While AI, machines and robots will objectively preside over the diagnostic and executive functions of the treatment, empathisers will spend time with the patients and their families to allay their worries without interfering in the medical procedure,” he said. 

According to Verma, the AI wave will be beneficial in augmenting doctors’ intelligence through machine learning, as one cannot learn and retain every morsel of information learned. AI will also democratise the medical diagnosis process and make accessibility easy, even in remote regions.

“Due to possessing large language models (LLM), AI can act as a conversational agent and in India, it can be translated into local languages, making healthcare both inclusive and accessible. You will be able to be diagnosed and treated by top medical practitioners in the country in your language of preference through efficient programming,” he said.

Verma concluded by saying that certain measures need to be taken to ensure that AI is not misused in the medical field, such as safeguarding patients’ rights through transparency, accurate accountability in case of mishaps and security of data and eradicating programming biases.


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