European Union is pushing research & implementation of several projects on Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Health is one of the main obvious fields to work on.
In an spanish medical newspaper, Diario Médico, has been posted an interview with Alfonso Valencia, Director of Life Sciences Dept at Barcelona Supercomputing Center with a suggestive title: “We don’t have to blindly trust what an AI would tell us”, and he points that there are more than 20 consolidated and operative health AI projects in Europe so far.
He also says that the mission of the doctor is irreplaceable yet, concluding that the time spent dealing with difficult cases could be used on new duties.
I’ve been pondering that we will be facing an enormous dilemma in the near future related to IA: Will the Physicians be acolytes, interpreters or verifiers of the AI rulings?
Presently we all receive severely distressed patients after asking Google about their symptoms or fears, but we have to be ready for the moment a patient arrives with a comercially available AI proclamation with a quantitative relation of probability of disease based on subjective symptoms.
In addition, there is a situation related to the genetic test ordered by mail. The patients do not have the tools to evaluate the genetic risk against the real risk, what to say about polygenic diseases.
I foresee we must prepare to handle a significant increase in these situations in the future.
The role of the medical professional will always be the peak of decision-making and ethical responsibility in a pyramid of healthcare, with other equally necessary professions that are based on the practical aspects of “compassion”, a term that encompasses the commitment to healing of people. But if the cusp is going to be shared, will we be ready?