machine learning has already made its presence known in warehouse environments and other jobs that involve repetitive tasks. But there is one unlikely sector that has the ability to really benefit from these advances: healthcare.
The US healthcare system has been overwhelmed by the pandemic, with the mental and physical health of workers suffering at record levels.
While this is bad news for society as a whole, it particularly affects healthcare workers, who often have to bear the heavy burden left by an increasingly sick world. As a result, these professionals experience higher levels of burnout and other health issues.
However, AI may have the ability to ease the pressure that healthcare workers are under.
Technology already plays an important role in the functioning of the healthcare industry, from booking appointments to reading tests. But Tom Lawry, national AI director for health and life sciences at Microsoft, thinks there’s still room for more.
“AI only adds value in one or two ways: it adds value by automating the way work is done or by augmenting the way work is done,” Lawry said.
“Automation means that the highly repetitive work done by humans today will be done by an intelligent machine today or in the future. But the biggest part of healthcare today is the increase…l idea of augmentation is, “How can we get AI behind humans to make them better at something they care about?”
In short, automation is not intended to replace healthcare professionals, it is simply there to make their job easier.
“What AI is good at is things like pattern recognition… It’s great for sifting through massive amounts of data to find something that humans aren’t able to find. or that it would take humans years to find,” Lawry said.
“On the other hand, humans are gifted with wisdom, common sense, empathy and creativity, all of which are vitally important when you think about the process of care.”