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From our Expert Voices conversation on AI and medicine.

Can AI improve medicine by helping doctors make better diagnoses? I say yes. I say so hesitantly, and with respect for the humility we need to have about our ability to diagnose and cure disease. We should always remember that the "right" diagnosis is a means, but not the end.

But I see the promise of AI as offering two things. The first is an opportunity for AI to teach us human doctors to think about disease in new ways – ways we never would have considered before.

In a 2016 article in Wired, "What the AI behind AlphaGo can teach us about being human," senior writer Cade Metz wrote:

"AI could drive a new kind of scientific research, where machines point humans toward the next big breakthrough. The machine (AlphaGo) did a very human thing even better than a human. But in the process, it made those humans better at what they do."

So I am optimistic that AI can help us be better diagnosticians. Just as the advent of echocardiography has improved the diagnostic yield of doctors evaluating patients with valvular heart disease, AI could someday improve a doctor's ability to make a diagnosis more accurately or faster.

But for me, the second, and far more important, role for AI in medicine lies in its ability to free us clinicians to spend more time listening to and talking with our patients. Time is the single biggest commodity in health care.

The bottom line: The ultimate promise of AI might be to enable more time and more presence with our patients.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.