AI Doc Episode 2: What can AI doctors do?
An old adage in healthcare "doctors provide health while nurses provide care" distinguishes tasks that provide health - diagnosis, advice, treatment and prognosis - from tasks that provide care - sympathy, empathy and validation. The former tasks are candidates for automation while the latter are not because they require an empathetic connection is only beneficial to the patient when the patient believes it is genuine. An AI programmed to always empathise would not be believable. Not acknowledging this limitation of AI will divert resources from more productive AI research.
Within the tasks that can be automated, many already have been in the last two decades. Radiologists, surgeons and physicians already rely on software and devices that automatically schedule, adjust dosages, segment images and in this way support the doctors that provide care. Because these do not look like metallic humans, we might not recognize them for what they are - medical AI. In the same way we don't think of a laundry machine as robot launderer, medical robots that don't look human might not feel robotic, but are how robotic doctors look - machines fit for a specific purpose.