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January 1/8, 2019

Humanizing Artificial Intelligence

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stanford University, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2019;321(1):29-30. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.19398

If human intelligence is the learned ability to gain from experience and the capacity to handle unfamiliar situations and manipulate abstract concepts while using experience and knowledge to change the world, then the concept of artificial intelligence (AI)—a huge advance in data processing and computing—would not easily compare with true human intelligence. In this Viewpoint, AI broadly encompasses machine learning, natural language processing, expert systems that emulate the decision making and reasoning of human experts, and other related applications.

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2 Comments for this article
Insightful case for AI in healthcare
Xavier Barrera, MSc Computer Science | University of the Pacific
A compelling short essay in on the question of whether artificial intelligence AI can help clinicians with the human side of healthcare. Answer: It can! This piece will no doubt inspire technologists and data scientists at the intersection of AI and medicine. Thanks you A. Verghese and S. T. Israni.
Humanizing Artificial Intelligence
Ian R. Lawson, M.D. | Retired
That Osler was quoted in this otherwise excellent article may reflect our American addiction to reverence of the past, whether of our Constitution, what Presidents have written, or as here, what worthy physicians have said inappropriate to the present. Indeed, one doubts that Osler's aphorism was true in his own day, but his international distinction probably had his words enshrined.

In addition to the anatomical and histologic manifestations of disease and its stages, modern medicine differentiates illness by chemical, molecular and genetic characters. What is thereby defined surely makes a great deal of difference to how the physician
discusses the burden-benefits of therapeutic options, if any, with his/her patient; a discussion that surely occurred, however crudely, in Osler's day and is more refined in our own.

It is a stretch of imagination to have a machine, however advanced in language and knowledge of the risks vs. benefits of decision, interact effectively towards, say, a man or a woman in advanced stages of their malignancy.