AI in healthcare


One of the simple definitions of artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of computers to learn, see and think. Experts have rightly predicted that AI is the future of work. Pakistan is also trying to keep pace with developments in the field and is preparing trained manpower to handle machines that process data faster and make decisions faster than human beings. Experts at a recent workshop on the application of AI in healthcare said AI made things much easier for doctors, patients and hospital administration, thereby increasing life expectancy and the overall quality of life. So in view of the growing importance of AI a state-of-the-art Centre for Artificial Intelligence in Health Sciences is being set up at Karachi University with the cooperation of International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences where the required infrastructure is available to train manpower in the application of AI in the healthcare sector. AI performs tasks faster than human beings in the health sector and at much reduced cost.

Now in several hospitals in the country, robots have been employed to aid medical procedures, especially in surgery. The fact that robots are functioning properly indicates that the country has indigenous capability to operate robots and other such machines. AI performs tasks in all spheres of life better than humans. This has led some people to believe that AI will render human beings fully or partially redundant and with it will come a cut in input costs. However, this is a mistake to assume that AI can work accurately without human help. Whatever the case, it is essential to take human beings in the loop. It is necessary to combine AI with human intelligence for algorithms can go astray and give unintended or even serious consequences. There are experts who believe that AI would eliminate bureaucracy in organisations, which will make it easier to take decisions. On the other hand, another school of thought is of the contrary view, that is, AI will strengthen bureaucracy and its concomitant red tape delaying decisions.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2021.

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