Dr. Raviteja Innamuri

Consultant Psychitarist-CMC Vellore

“In the next 10 years, Medicine shall take a step forward and backwards. The forward step would be with a big breakthrough in Neurological Sciences and Oncology mostly through targeting of specific genes. The backward step needed would be taking a more holistic and humanistic approach through the incorporation of end-of-life care and disability-related services etc.”

Intelligence is no longer defined by an IQ score alone and includes socio-adaptive functioning. Considering the materialistic and competitive world that we live in, where time and memory are always falling short; the techno-savvy assisted by their gadgets might often have an edge. However, does that mean that technology or artificial intelligence in question is smarter than us? In the coming decades, will it outperform its master (humans)? Should we be worried about an apocalypse in the making?

History tells us that every several scientific breakthroughs appeared in the works of art long before it materialized in reality for example heliocentrism, airplanes etcetera. Considering that movies are the most loved (and highest paid) form of art; it is not surprising in this context to appreciate the large number of movies in the last decade (The Machine, Transcendence, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Next Gen, etc.) that talk about technological singularity or artificial intelligence and the increasing appearance of robots in animated movies and in Netflix (Love, Death & Robots). Also, with more humanoid robots being released into the market and the hottest online courses being artificial intelligence and machine learning; we can sure that this discussion is here to stay.

While we are wondering and dreaming about our futuristic worlds, let us also try to root into the present and see. As of today, we rely heavily on our smartphones, video calling, easy payment portals, and technology. At some point each day, we wonder how life was without this technology. Despite being the most technologically advanced and luxurious in history, why as a generation are more psychologically distressed than ever. What made Korea introduce gaming detox centers, and NIMHANS, India initiate the facebookdeaddiction center and what makes many of us feel that we are addicted to our very own smartphones!

As young doctors, we need to think this through on behalf of our society as this has a direct impact on health at large. We need to understand that everything that has the potential of doing any good also has the potential to do harm, just like a stick of dynamite. Food can itself become poison, isn’t it. All it requires is moderation. Therefore, let us spend at least a few hours every day without smartphones and other gadgets. Let’s not wake up to them, even it means that we have to return to our alarm clock to wake us up. Talk to our neighbors, family and call a few friends even if it means spending a little lesser time on social media. Spend a little more time talking to our patients, even if that information is of no use to the electronic medical records system. By being human to our patients, we ensure that computers can never replace us; doctors in the future. We can never be absolutely sure of the past or future but the present is here. In the present, we can still be the smarter ones.

 

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