Artificial Intelligence in Medicine
For the past hundreds of centuries, the application of artificial intelligence has been gradually assimilating into human life. Conceptually, the ability of the machine to think like a human has been incorporated into many devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Babylon Health is a digital health service provider founded in 2013. It uses an artificial intelligence-powered platform to provide virtual medical consultations for patients via a medical application named Babylon. Babylon is configured in such a way that it mirrors actual consultations with doctors due to its human-friendly communication and convenient information. Not only does this application monitor the patients’ health throughout their illness, but also keeps a record of their progress even after they have recovered, making follow-ups more convenient. Prescriptions can be delivered immediately after the diagnosis either through the application itself, or a written prescription may be delivered to the address upon request. This is efficient in both cost and time.
Many of us resort to Google when experiencing an ailment. However, we are met with a broad range of possible diagnoses: from a harmless cold to a brain tumor. Symptoma is a digital health application organization. Unlike Google, Symptoma is based on 14 years of scientific research by medical doctors and data scientists, which has solidified its reputation as an evidence-based symptom checker. Today, Symptoma is the most utilized symptom checker worldwide among both doctors and patients with millions of users and searches per month. It is free and available to everyone who has Internet access. While it does not offer a human-friendly interaction, its ability to narrow down a list of differential diagnoses with a likelihood rate of each has been well-received by users.
Healthcare providers also benefit from the privilege of artificial intelligence. The Da Vinci Surgical System is a medical robot typically to perform urological surgery. For instance, prostate removal, tumor resection, and so on. Surgeons are provided with a highly magnified three-dimensional view of the operating site.
Such a setup enables the system to be highly precise while remaining minimally invasive, which translates to using small incisions to access the patient’s abdomen. This allows for a shorter recovery period, as smaller incisions are less prone to complications such as bleeding and infections. The addition of artificial intelligence to the surgeon’s skills produces a higher quality of surgery than was previously attainable using traditional surgical methods.
Despite the advancements of artificial intelligence in the medical field, there is much dispute over its use in terms of ethical issues. Some citizens fear that the creation of something beyond the capacity of the human mind could be the cause of human extinction. As these robots continue to learn via complex algorithms, In the future, if users continue to put more trust in a machine, however precise it may be, there would seem to be a limited purpose for humans to be involved in the medical field. However, this is a far-fetched possibility as the human desire for social interaction will most likely prevail over stiff humanoid communication. Furthermore, clinical judgment is still crucial when it comes to dealing with patients. Symptoma has made a disclaimer on its application advising users to refrain from using the application in emergencies or unique circumstances such as pregnancy.
In conclusion, artificial intelligence is undoubtedly a rapidly developing field that will contribute to the future. In the future, the world will most likely see more similar advances in artificial intelligence with greater intensity. Undoubtedly, applications like Babylon Health will continue to offer ‘over-the-internet service to its users so that they will not have to seek ‘over-the-counter’ assistance. However, as Stephen Hawking once put it, “artificial intelligence will be either the best or worst thing for humanity”. Although it is of concern whether it will or will not surpass human intelligence, it is currently well-programmed and controlled to meet human needs rather than for revolutionary purposes.