AI in healthcare: A ‘partner’or an ‘enemy’ (Opinion)

If all the people from the 11th century visit the 21st-century world, they would be astonished to see how technology has invaded almost every sector of industry. It wouldn’t be wrong to label this era a ‘technological revolution’. From small-scale enterprises to industry giants, technology (or artificial intelligence to be specific) has caused a major shift in the world. Artificial intelligence discussions became more intense when Hanson Robotics introduced its first robot citizen Sophia. Since then, Sophia has been used in various robotics and human-robot interaction research. (Hansonrobots, n.d.).

Artificial intelligence has already gained momentum in the educational sector, and educationalists have started weighing the risks and benefits of it. While in the health sector, AI has not gained enough fame yet, many experts are embroiled in a debate about whether this could be our ‘enemy’ or ‘partner’.

Vallance (2023) predicted 300 million jobs would be replaced by AI. This is a wake-up call not only for healthcare professionals but for the entire workforce. Health delivery to the general public is being transformed by artificial intelligence. For instance, robot-assisted surgery is becoming a trend in healthcare settings, which might threaten doctors and nurses because it will require fewer resources to perform surgery. According to the World Health Organization (2023), AI must be used responsibly and ethically. People these days depend on chatbots. This has led to self-diagnosis by patients. There is a possibility that these machines provide misleading and false information. AI must be used cautiously.

On the other hand, AI is also guiltless if we make it our friend. This idea is inspired by Bill Gates’ visionary note in which he highlighted how AI can emerge as a partner in healthcare. Gates (2023) anchored the idea that robots can ease healthcare workers’ burdens by performing some of their tasks. They can be used to do most paperwork that takes up too much time, for instance. Gates (2023) also emphasized that AI can be used productively in poor countries as this can help them diagnose themselves easily. Patients can easily decide whether their condition requires urgent or routine care. This can save unnecessary travel costs. For it to be executed more effectively, more innovation and effort are needed.

All things considered, artificial intelligence can bring many groundbreaking innovations to healthcare. While it has many pitfalls, it can eradicate some of the most challenging health inequalities and disparities worldwide if used intelligently. AI can also uncover new treatments and cures, as well as alleviate the burden of mundane tasks for medical professionals.

AI is not a threat to healthcare professionals; rather it is a competent ally with ‘natural intelligence’. Both can work harmoniously to provide the highest quality of life for their patients and themselves. Initiatives must be taken to incorporate artificial intelligence into healthcare. Training sessions and awareness programs must be carried out to educate people on using AI tools safely, wisely, and ethically.

Here is the link to WHO’s guidance about AI safety:

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