Intended for healthcare professionals


Artificial intelligence versus clinicians

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: (Published 03 April 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m1326
  1. Vanessa Rampton, Branco Weiss fellow
  1. McGill University, Institute for Health and Social Policy and Department of Philosophy, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  1. vanessa.rampton{at}

Evolving technologies may yet provide the medicine that patients expect

Could machines replace human physicians? Substantial private investments are being devoted to achieving exactly that, and some success has been reported in areas such as breast screening,1 fuelling desires among the public for accelerated implementation.2 The main argument of tech optimists is that deep learning AI systems, which learn by themselves from a large set of examples, continually integrate new knowledge and perfect themselves with a speed that humans cannot match.3 They also highlight the benefits of using AI to treat patients, including increased availability, lower costs, and no risk of mutual infection.4

Sceptics argue that AI in healthcare is overhyped, profit driven, and not always in patients’ best interests.5 Nagendran …

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