Recently at the University College, London, after accessing medical case summaries which presumably provided all the information needed to arrive at a correct diagnosis a group of doctors squared off against artificial intelligence to come up with an accurate assessment of around 160 cases. The outcome: AI outgunned the doctors to the tune of 77.3 per cent correct diagnosis vs 71.4 per cent.
It is conceivable that in the not-too-distant future we could be feeding the responses to a whole bunch of questions to an app. These would be questions about our symptoms, following which we would step into a booth, which scans us from head to toe, replacing the examination performed by a doctor. Those two technologies would combine their input to decide which investigations we needed, maybe a blood test, a swab, an Xray or an MRI, which would be executed by a device housed in an adjacent facility, providing us with the necessary output to generate an instantaneous answer to our medical dilemma and consequently immediate, appropriate treatment. No doctor needed.
Of course the ongoing learning and experience which fashions human wisdom belies the faith we might be placing in this alternate intelligence.
Some pundits are predicting that AI will be utilized to augment doctors, making them smarter rather than replacing them, but if the above technology does become available, we might have to decide which expertise receives our endorsement.