Doctors and Engineers especially in their student years don’t share a respectful relation. Mostly Medicine being the more preferred choice of career, many of the engineers are actually “wanna be doctor but could not get into” types. Hence they now want to prove that being Engineer is actually a better thing than being a Doctor. But this blog is not about that.
I never wanted to become a doctor and pure love for mathematics and analytical think brought me into Engineering field. But now while I attend Artificial Intelligence lecture, medicine often comes in our discussion. How can we design expert systems to diagnose diseases.
The question that our professor raised today was something that I had thought about many times before. There is a fundamental difference between how people in different professions think. A Doc, said my prof., makes any hypothesis purely based on his experience and diagnoses the disease. He then continuously updates his hypothesis based on response that the patient gives to his treatment.
As long as the basis for hypothesis is not the Doctor’s immediate financial needs, I would say it is a fine approach. But Doctors need to work harder at getting their hypothesis write in the first shot, if an engineer has to trust them. Even a trivial symptom like cough might make them think that they have got a fatal disease. More so because they use Internet to arrive at that conclusion themselves.
Given my experience in software engineering, I only hope that doctors dont really work the way we do. So many times we realize that the code we are writing is ugly and there is a better solution, we end up keeping it that way just because “it will not show up” or the client would not know about it. What is Doctors think that way ?
Engineers have analytical mind. Given a set of symptoms we will have to correlate those symptoms with some disease with known symptoms. Clearly a well-studied and well-known (though not well solved) problem in machine learning.
But then I am really worried about the cases where a wanna be doctor ends up becoming an engineer. Isnt something terribly wrong with that?
Note: Many seem to get offended by the statement that most engineering get into the profession because they could not get into medicine, this is an india specific statement and purely on a personal note.