Veterinary profession will fall further behind without AI engagement – academic

US-based vet and academic Henry Yoo insisted technology will not replace vets as he outlined how artificial intelligence is being used at the London Vet Show.

A vet and academic has urged professionals to engage with artificial intelligence (AI) to help bridge the divide between themselves and other sectors.

Henry Yoo told London Vet Show delegates the veterinary professions were already up to 20 years behind human medicine in their use of the technology and the gap could grow even wider.

Reminding his audience that using computers was once controversial, he said: “If we don’t get engaged with it, we are going to be so far behind.”

Potential impacts

The recent growth of interest in AI has sparked fears about potential negative impacts on workers and wider society.

Dr Yoo, an executive consultant for Infinity Medical Consulting in California and director of international development for Vetology, told the Thursday morning session that the technology was already being used in several areas, with rapid developments also being made in many others.

He said: “You haven’t seen a thing yet. It will continue to develop.”

Tool to help

But while Dr Yoo cautioned that vets who use the technology would gradually replace those who don’t, he also insisted it should primarily be seen as a tool to help clinicians rather than a threat.

He added: “AI is not telling us what to do. We are still making the final decisions.”

Dr Yoo, who has worked in both the veterinary and human medical spheres, argued AI offers the potential for earlier diagnosis and treatment, as well as substantial time savings and easier care access for clients.

He also suggested the technology could assist with educating pet owners and helping to make them more responsive to the needs of their pets.

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