Recently I spent some time watching videos of surgeon David Samadi and the Da Vinci robotic operating sytem. I began thinking about doctors and automation. I wondered, can machines act like doctors?
I wondered what part of me will be replaced by artificial intelligence? I suspect that much of what I do will be done more efficiently by machine.
Then I thought about last week’s post on how I structure a patient visit. The process of data collection – hypothesis – data collection – repeat. Can this be performed by a machine? Of course, and probably quite well.
The hang-up is with the relational part of what I do. Understanding a parent’s hidden agenda, watching a child’s face during the abdominal exam, observing the non-verbal dialog between a mom and daughter during the history, hearing their experience and, most importantly, processing all of it in a way that fixes a child or helps a mother better understand her child. Perhaps the most important issue that I negotiate with parents: what level of uncertainty can we live with? How far will we go with the technology we have?
Heady stuff. Especially for a robot.
But I bring a chauvinistic, human bias to all this. None of us understand the ultimate capacity of artificial intelligence. A lot of what I do can be replaced. But not all of it.