Mozart’s music always sounds unburdened, effortless, and light. This is why it unburdens, releases, and liberates us.
–Karl Barth, Swiss theologian
I am a lifelong devotee to great music, from classical music to Lady Gaga, and even an occasional reggae and rap. I was pondering: If we put in parallel the history of AI in medicine with the history of Western music (Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th/21st Century), which period would AI in medicine be?
While most of our other societal sectors are in what I would consider the AI Baroque period (1600- 1750) with its range and complexity (polyphonic contrapuntal in music parlance as exemplified by Vivaldi and Bach), I think AI in medicine and health care remains in the Medieval period (1150-1400) with its Gregorian chants (celestial but monophonic). As a comparison, we are continually improving on medical imaging and deep learning, but still lack a true diversity of AI “tones” or tools necessary for our eventual vision: precision medicine where many data forms and AI methodologies will converge. We have now outstanding musicians in the form of talented data scientists but need more composers, clinicians with relevant problems to solve for us to move on to more balanced musical compositions. I look forward to our future AI projects in medicine will be ethereal melodies with accompaniment, like the absolutely and singularly sublime Adagio in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major (K.622)(sorry Beethoven and Chopin fans).