Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

There’s No AI in Touch


Sometimes innovations can make our jobs easier. Rather than competing with AI, embracing it thoughtfully can allow us to spend more time connecting with patients.   

Special Tech

I wanted to pick a specialty 

But my specialty picked me 

When I tried to see what 

Specialty I would be 


I thought surgery 

But laparoscopy has changed so much so fast 

And now robotics?  

So, I tried to see 

What would change next, so I didn’t end up 

Desperately out of 

Specialized work 


But we can’t talk about technology in medicine 


It’s like we are behind a wall 

And it drops over the wall 

Falling on our 

Special noggins 

Like a ton of 

Badly designed bricks 


So, I knew I had to  

Scale the wall 

And peek over the edge 

But I fell on the other side of 

Special tech 

And now 

I can’t get back 

Because there is so much fear 

About specialization 

And speciation  

In medical culture 


I worry about them there 

In their gated communities 

And walled certifications 

Because technology is  

Terraforming medicine in increasingly  

Automated ways 

And they don’t know how it is  

Made or bartered 

So how can they protect themselves? 


Especially when 

They reinforce the wall 

So expertly and effortfully 

Against the  



I’ve written a lot about how I ended up becoming an MD-technologist instead of practicing clinical medicine. Now my decision seems prescient. ChatGPT passes medical exams and doctors scramble to outpace AI that predicts patient death in hospital. But at the time, as a third-year medical student, all I knew was one essay written by a man in the belly of the institutional beast.  

J.C.R. Licklider worked on a computer the size of a small operating room in the Pentagon during the Cold War, and in 1960 wrote the essay, “Man-Computer Symbiosis.” “Here’s what I do mentally,” he explained in precise and cheerful words, “And here’s what I wish a machine would do for me.” 

There seems to be an endless war raging between humans and machine right now. And as I walk the borderlands between the two camps, I wonder if there are any pacifists left. Why do we fight so harshly to preserve our cognitive territory? Are we so terrified of having our logic checked? Why can’t we work together? 

I believe, I will always believe, that humans are wasted on data entry. That humans should touch humans, that machines should make our lives easier, and that we should not restrict good innovations from our patients because of hubris.  










This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.