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The rise of artificial intelligence and the uncertain future for physicians

  • C. Krittanawong
    Correspondence
    Department of Internal Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 1 Gustave L. Levy Pl, New York, NY 10029, United States
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai St’ Luke and Mount Sinai West, New York, NY, United States
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      Abstract

      Physicians in everyday clinical practice are under pressure to innovate faster than ever because of the rapid, exponential growth in healthcare data. “Big data” refers to extremely large data sets that cannot be analyzed or interpreted using traditional data processing methods. In fact, big data itself is meaningless, but processing it offers the promise of unlocking novel insights and accelerating breakthroughs in medicine—which in turn has the potential to transform current clinical practice. Physicians can analyze big data, but at present it requires a large amount of time and sophisticated analytic tools such as supercomputers. However, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the era of big data could assist physicians in shortening processing times and improving the quality of patient care in clinical practice. This editorial provides a glimpse at the potential uses of AI technology in clinical practice and considers the possibility of AI replacing physicians, perhaps altogether. Physicians diagnose diseases based on personal medical histories, individual biomarkers, simple scores (e.g., CURB-65, MELD), and their physical examinations of individual patients. In contrast, AI can diagnose diseases based on a complex algorithm using hundreds of biomarkers, imaging results from millions of patients, aggregated published clinical research from PubMed, and thousands of physician's notes from electronic health records (EHRs).
      While AI could assist physicians in many ways, it is unlikely to replace physicians in the foreseeable future. Let us look at the emerging uses of AI in medicine.

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