Why do we need doctors

AI is gaining in importance:
Will we soon no longer need doctors?

Artificial intelligence (AI) appears to be much better than doctors in diagnosing and suggesting the right treatment. What is the next step in the medical profession?

Doctors make mistakes - that is logical and human. After all, they usually work under great pressure and in a complex field in which new information is constantly emerging. Artificial intelligence, algorithmic systems that can learn, do not make such mistakes. So the question arises as to whether doctors are not becoming obsolete as programs get better and better.

Diagnosis and treatment recommendation: AI wins

When it comes to detecting and diagnosing tumors, for example, artificial intelligence has the edge. A computer program can make the correct diagnosis much better. And who then decides on the treatment? Also an artificial intelligence, ideally. Because here, too, doctors make more mistakes.

The reasons for this lie in the huge amounts of information that doctors have to process. No oncologist can be constantly up to date with the latest research. Tons of papers, articles and lectures are published every week. No doctor can absorb and process all of this information. That is why doctors traditionally rely on others to preselect. Certain information asserts itself over time. A really complex system of artificial intelligence can process and absorb all this information in the future and incorporate it into a diagnosis.

It is similar when assessing the right treatment: the wider the field, the more options there are. Again, a single person can hardly keep track of what an artificial intelligence can easily swallow. So such a system selects the appropriate treatment much more skillfully.

Technical aids: the tricorder

The tricorder appeared for the first time in the television series Star Trek - a small device that the chief doctor held in his hand on board the ship. He held it once over the body of the respective patient and was able to read various (depending on the situation and consequence different) measured values ​​from it. Quasi the next step in the health tracker that we are currently using more and more.

That is why a competition was announced at which the best development of a "tricorder" was awarded at the end of the month. It also automates the little things a doctor needs to do, such as measuring blood pressure and listening to heartbeats. So why still doctors?

There are doctors on Star Trek too

Although the series "invented" the tricorder and computers were available anywhere and anytime with which the protagonists could do a variety of things, there were doctors on Star Trek too. In the first version still "pill", later medical officers take care of the ships' crew. They operate the futuristic (and soon perhaps old-fashioned) devices that diagnose and determine appropriate treatment. In a later version of the series, this function is actually performed by a hologram or program. So Star Trek seems to paint a picture of our future: Doctors simply as the ones who read the data from the screen to the others and have the key to the medicine cabinet?

The opposite is the case. In each of the squadrons, the medical officers, doctors, medical advisors and also the hologram are of great importance. They are the ones who impart the knowledge and, for example, reassure a patient - the functionality of the medical hologram program is continuously improved by learning about human characteristics. As people with a particularly high knowledge of human nature or experience, the doctors on the ships also take on important advisory functions on non-medical issues. Whenever behavior that has not yet been seen occurs, they are particularly in demand. Doctors make the crucial difference when a person does not fall into the statistics.

The job description changes instead of disappearing

In all industries in which artificial intelligence is gaining in importance, experts fear for their jobs. And certain activities have been eliminated by machines for a long time. But which doctor could claim that the mere diagnosis and determination of a treatment - apart from talking to the patient - actually makes up 100 percent of his professional activity?

Science fiction like Star Trek, but even older novels like the one by Agatha Christie have repeatedly emphasized that a good doctor is not only characterized by a wide range of knowledge, but also by how he treats his patients. Anyone who, as a doctor, fears that the new technical possibilities will make them superfluous, must ask themselves whether they are actually currently practicing their profession to the full.