Machine Learning and the Profession of Medicine

This article asks the question must the physician( or any medical professional for that matter) be human? The Institute for Creative Technologies developed a new computer they named “Ellie” that is able to analyze patient facial expressions and vocal tones, intonations and responses. Through this analysis it was even able to detect signs of PTSD. In the study, a group of 239 patients were told that “Ellie” was either controlled by a person or operating autonomously. It was actually found that the latter option produced more personal and intimate responses to the computer program.

The article then talks about how technology needs to continue to develop within the walls of technology. It discusses how the electronic medical record is just starting to be embraced but this should for no reason be the end of what they refer to as a “digital revolution.” It is believed that technology has tremendous potential and practical implementation in the practice of patient care.

How do you feel about the use of technology as a means to patient care? Does it make the medical professional obsolete and no longer necessary? Why have a human surgeon when you can have a computer operate on you? How will this kind of technology impact the field of pharmacy? Why will their still be a need for pharmacists if a computer can provide MTM services to patients? Will patients trust a computer to provide information to them….what about in subsequent generations?


Darcy AM, Louie AK, Roberts L. Machine Learning and the Profession of Medicine.JAMA. 2016;315(6):551-552. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.18421.