The future of Medicine in the time of artificial intelligence

A report published in The Lancet, Chilamkurthy et al report impressive results using deep learning to interpret critical findings on head CT scans.

The sensitivity of the algorithms using artificial intelligence was compared to radiologists’ interpretation; specificity was a little – not much – less precise. It could be – and in the future will be – cheaper, faster and almost equivalent.

There are not – yet – clinical trials in real life comparing artificial intelligence with human interpretation. But they will be done, sooner or later. For medical students of today, what will be the future? They will need to understand a little bit more about statistics, become adapted to compare machine generated advice against other evidence, and evaluate every information and choose those that best address patients’ needs.

Will artificial intelligence replace human doctors? Probably not – algorithms do not care about persons. Artificial intelligence can allow doctors more time to talk with their patients and practice the art of medicine. For some doctors – radiologists for sure – the market place will be completely different, and to all other doctors, the medical practice will be quite different from what we do today.


Coiera E. The fate of medicine in the time of AI. Lancet. 2018; 392 (10162): 2331-32. https://doi/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31925-1.

The future of Medicine in the time of artificial intelligence