THE FUTURE OF DOCTOR DUPLEX
It is not unreasonable to think that the software that gives life to the personal assistants of Google, Alexa, Siri, and Cortana will improve the services it provides, says Frederic Lordachs
(Expansion) – Developers and people familiar with the Agile methodology are dominating the world: we live in a time of sprint advances (product programming objectives), which end up showing the world viable minimum products or software prototypes.
One proof would be the advances shown in Google IO 2018 of the virtual assistant Google Duplex, the greatest demonstration of its mastery in Artificial Intelligence for practical use. Nothing is easier than asking our assistant to make a call to arrange an appointment for the hairdresser or the restaurant. The most curious (and creepy) thing about the video is that those receiving the call at no point have the feeling that the virtual assistant is a machine.
Nobody doubts, when watching the video, that should the call last 5 minutes it would exceed the Turing test, the barrier that separates the identification or not of an interlocutor as a machine. Even so, it remains to be seen what would happen in an empathy test like the one done to the replicants in Blade Runner, the fictional Voight-Kampff test.
It is not unreasonable to think that the software that gives life to the personal assistants of Google, Alexa, Siri, and Cortana will improve the services it provides. It is also logical to think that instead of one big unique system of Artificial Intelligence, with ever more services, there should be a multitude of highly specialized ones. And this brings us to the field of health, the most coveted by the technology industry.
Between 2013 and 2017, only Google’s parent company, Alphabet, requested 186 patents related to health issues. These patents mainly focused on investments for DeepMind, their artificial intelligence startup, and Verily, its health research branch.
Google principles for the use and development of artificial intelligence
And this brings us to the point where Artificial Intelligence focuses on being more efficient in gathering information directly from health professionals and patients. The symptom checkers, the interactive symptom analyzers, are having a second chance. By improving them a bit (or a lot), and integrating artificial intelligence, the technology to collect symptoms could be less invasive.
Today doctors and health systems should ask the questions and type the answers. A Duplex Doctor could ask the questions over the phone and draw interesting conclusions almost in real time. This triage work prior to the allocation of health resources could be very efficient in minor emergencies (as Babylon Health is testing in the NHS).
A little more power can make it an interesting resource in a high percentage of cases. Even in cases of postoperative follow-up or in chronic patients, a more human relationship, provided by artificial intelligence, would be appreciated, and could be more exhaustive.
Such a system would greatly simplify costs in an environment that calls for a universal health system, but with a great focus on the empathy and suffering of the patient and their environment. But Dr. Duplex has a few years left before he finishes Primary Education (my 9 year old son can also make an appointment by phone at the hairdresser or order a table at a restaurant) and goes off to Medical School. And it remains to be seen if patients will find themselves doing the Voight-Kampff test to their doctor in their conversations with him over the phone.
Author: Frederic Lordachs, co-founder of Doctoralia. The opinions in this column belong exclusively to the author.Read article in Spanish HERE