How to master any subject that is out of our syllabus or domain? Not one, 16 of them. Some of them involve hardcore mathematics! Mathematics was my Achilles heel! Goddess Saraswathi did not bless me with it. I barely managed to scrape through it during my intermediate and pre-university examinations! Another issue is the knowledge base is growing faster than our abilities to comprehend it. 

Gordon Moore, an American engineer never knew, his casual statement would one day become a law! In 1965, he was being interviewed for a special issue of Electronics journal. He was replying to a query on possible developments that may happen in the technology sector during the next decade. He said, the number of transistors per silicon chip doubles every two years. As the transistors in integrated circuits became smaller, they also became faster, and more efficient. The size and prices of computers were reduced too. Now, more than half a century later, his prophecy has left a lasting impact on the technology industry as Moore’s law!” 

The enhanced computing power led to information or knowledge explosion. Experts opine that the knowledge is doubling every 12 hours! The world already has approximately 70 Zettabytes of knowledge or information! Each Zettabyte is a billion terabytes! If we arrange our one TB hard disks in series, they may encircle our solar system! 

Compared to the information explosion, what we professionals are learning must be equal to a proverbial drop from the information ocean! Can we afford to have another drop more in this lifetime? Here is a scenario from a popular movie. 

“I know Kung fu” utters Neo. Within a few seconds Kung Fu software gets uploaded into his brain through a futuristic computer system plugged to his head! Next, we see Neo sparring with Morpheus in a virtual Samurai palace with Kung Fu! This scene from the popular movie, Matrix, came as a shock to me. I believed in Eric Anderson’s theory that, “to master any skill to a professional level, we need 10,000 hours of practice.” This is the ideology I fill in our fellows and trainees’ minds and encourage them to practice more and more. Yet, when I wanted to master a few new subjects, I was praying for a matrix kind of knowledge transfer technology! 

Can that ever be possible in our lifetimes? Can we upload the desired information, knowledge or skills to our brain with a click of a mouse button?! 

Our generation was luckiest to see the transformation in learning from black slates, black boards and chalks to hard bound books. Later, we got upgraded to first B&W, and then colour computer screens. Then came eBooks or pdfs and finally google.  Unfortunately, Google is learning more about us than the other way around. Still, currently we are enjoying all the information needed on iPads and mobiles. Everything we want to learn is available at the tip of our fingers. Yet, we cannot learn unless we go through the tedious learning process! And there comes the ChatGPT, even before we could completely exploit the power of Google! 

ChatGPT is gaining more power every day, and I fear, soon it will replace amateur bloggers like me. ChatGPT is also threatening the entire non-fiction writing industry. After all, non-fiction writing has become a kind of ethical plagiarism! Ideas borrowed from here and there and then interspersed with a few ounces of original ideas. The ChatGPT can do a better job. Try searching for terms such as productivity or time management on ChatGPT! Bingo! You get a summary of all New York Times best-seller books! 

Few friends ask me, what will be the impact of AI and ChatGPT on our profession? There are already talks that AI may chew some of our medical specialties. such as radiology or pathologies where the AI can study the patterns and give a better diagnosis! Right now, I can’t predict how far the AI succeeds in this endeavour, ChatGPT will have a huge impact on the medical profession in the days to come. ChatGPT is going to empower our clientele with more medical information in a systematic way. 

The IDIOT syndrome (Internet Derived Information Obstruction Treatment syndrome) is likely to become more malignant! Many Indian doctors, who do not update their knowledge and skills on a regular basis, will become the victims of ChatGPT-infested-IDIOT syndrome. Technology adaptation is faster in India compared to many first world countries. It has been further reinforced by the extensive internet penetration and Jio-dized offers! If some nerd from Namma Benguluru scripts a good mobile medical app while waiting in treacherous Namma Bengaluru traffic, it may render many general practitioners useless. Key advice by some techno pandits is, exploit the ChatGPT to garner enough knowledge before it could bulldoze us! 

Nevertheless, ChatGPT can deprive me of some blogs, but can it snatch my entire creativity or thought process? We should not forget Moore’s law! The future is fast, disruptive and unpredictable. 

With best regards, 

Prof. Dr. Prahlada N.B

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