I had some interesting feedback for my article how 350,000 Robots can solve India’s health crisis. The doubts were on how IBM Watson failed, how India is complicated, and how robots cannot match India’s culture, language, beliefs, and many variables.
Here are my thoughts on each of those –
- Complexity – If the medical profession is all logic and science-based and diagnosis and solutions are based on mathematical proofs and statistical significance, then robots can be better because they can process and analyze vast amounts of data quickly and accurately without the limitations of human cognition and emotions. They can also make more objective decisions based on evidence and best practices without the influence of personal biases or preferences.
- The Experience of Doctors cannot be replaced – All doctors are not the same. If a ‘fresh from college’ graduate with zero experience in the field can become a GP on a 3-year rural posting can do it, then robots are better because they can be programmed with the necessary knowledge and skills and can perform consistently without getting tired or sick. They can also be updated with the latest research and guidelines, ensuring they consistently provide high-quality care.
- Culture and beliefs and biases – Culture and ideas have always existed and will exist. Robots are better because they remove the discrimination of caste, creed, and religion and bring neutrality. They can treat all patients with the same level of respect and compassion, regardless of their background or beliefs.
- The doubts from the medical fraternity if tech can replace human contact – Telemedicine was initially scoffed at. Still, it became a norm overnight when COVID struck, and the doctor got their payments online and in advance. This shows that technology can be rapidly adopted in times of crisis and can provide a viable solution to various challenges. Similarly, robots in healthcare could help address shortages of qualified healthcare professionals and provide timely and accessible care to underserved populations.
- IBM Watson Failure – Tech advances are growing exponentially, and what happened with Watson many years ago may be irrelevant. Today’s robots are much more advanced and capable. They can be tailored to meet different cultures and communities specific needs and preferences. They can also be integrated with other technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to enhance their capabilities and performance.
- Low Infection Transmission + 24X7 workers; Docs can focus on critical and specialized tasks –. Another argument for using robots in healthcare is that they can reduce the risk of infection transmission, especially during pandemics. They can also reduce the workload on healthcare professionals, allowing them to focus on more complex and critical tasks, potentially leading to better outcomes and satisfaction for patients and providers.