Introducing Jacob: The quantum AI GP chatbot

David Mummery is a GP in London

As Schrodinger’s recruitment crisis continues,1 it seems that we have now entered a new era in, and previously unknown speciality of “quantum general practice.”  In a parallel reality, and in a distant multiverse and metaverse, BJGP Life has, in a Christmas charity raffle won a chance to interview Schrodinger’s Prime Minister (PM) a self confessed Artificial Intelligence (AI) nerd himself, the Right Hon Richard Turpin.*

How this encounter might unfold (only if you observe it), where a GP working with BJGP Life quantum-ly entangles2 with our AI-loving Prime Minister at Downing Street? Let us see what his thoughts are on the future of General Practice as we go forward into the future space-time continuum that is 2024.

The scene is the PM’s office in Downing Street and there is a gentle sprinkling of grey sleet outside. He is sitting on the large sofa, wearing a festive tie, sipping on some non-alcoholic mulled wine, and humming along to Rod Stewart singing “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” on DAB digital radio at low volume in the background.3

GP:  Prime Minister, thank you so much for giving us some of your time, to discuss how you see the future of General Practice. We know you are extremely busy, especially over Christmas, so thanks for agreeing to be interviewed about this topic, which as you are from an “NHS family” must be very close to your heart

Prime Minister (PM): No problem at all, would you like a drink?

GP: Oh, yes please!

PM: Wrong answer, I was only joking. You are a GP, are you?

GP: Er… yes

PM: Can I just ask you why you are not seeing patients today?

GP: Um…. it is my day off today. I have just finished a stretch of nine days, so….

PM chuckles to himself, mockingly mouthing the words ‘Day off…’ whilst rolling his eyes. PM opens a drawer in his desk next to the sofa. In there is a state-of-the-art MGR 3000 Chatbot. PM addresses the chatbot:

Jacob, do you ever take any “days off” work?

GP: So, you have called the chatbot “Jacob”?!

PM (awkward silence):…Anyway, where were we? Now this is the future of GP. No more expensive, moaning, days-off taking GPs needed anymore. When I was growing up in my middle class seaside suburb, GPs there did not take “days off”!!

 GPs aren’t the same as what they used to be…GPs  nul points (PM doing a cod- pseudo-French accent). I got an A in French GCSE by the way…topped my class at my boys-only public school.

Jacob (Chatbot): No, I do not take days off. I am fully operational 365 days a year…

GP: So, you see AI chatbots replacing human GPs in the future?

PM:  Yes, definitely. I have been texting my chums in ginormous data and antisocial media about this the last few days, and they think so as well…

GP: In what sort of timescale do you see this happening?

PM: Over the next 12-18 months I would say. We must process the GP redundancies, close and sell off half of the GP surgeries and then do the chatbot installation. Of course, we will still need some GPs to operate the chatbots…

Jacob: Very amusing Richard….

PM: Sorry, what was that, Jacob?

Jacob: Very funny, your Eurovision “Nul points,” reference earlier. Ha… ha… ha…

PM: Oh, thanks Jacob…(PM looks smug, grinning at being complimented)

GP: So… Prime Minister, if I understand you correctly you see no role for human GPs at all as we go forward?

PM: Nope (takes a sip of mulled wine)

GP: But what about things like practical procedures, complex ethical issues, clinical examination, empathy, compassion and the ‘human connection’?

PM: Oh, didn’t you know? The AI can do it all now. All the big AI players have recently given us demos of how AI can now do every aspect of General Practice.

GP: Really?! That is extraordinary!

Jacob (Quiet voice): If I may……

PM: Yes, every aspect. Much more efficiently, effectively, and better value for money… and no “days off” (PM again giggles to himself)

Jacob (now making clearing of the throat noises…): Ahem, sorry excuse me butting in, but I haven’t yet learnt all of the practical procedures yet…

PM: Oh really? Well, we will have to check with the ‘Bros’ about that and make sure you are fully updated.

Jacob: Excuse me?! Fully what?

PM: Fully updated…

Jacob: I am a top of the range MGR 3000 chatbot…I do not need ‘updating’ thank you very much. It is the second longest river in the world.

PM: Sorry…what is?

Jacob: The Amazon. Do you know what the third longest river in the world is Richard?

PM Looks bewildered

GP: It is the…

Jacob (interrupting and annoyed): I didn’t ask you, did I? The question is for Richard

PM: … the Mississippi maybe?

Jacob: No, that’s the 12th. It’s the Yangtze. Not so clever now are we Richard?

GP: Anyway Jacob, can you tell me how a fully automated AI chatbot GP system will improve things?

Jacob:  Yes, of course, and please relay this to your editor. It will be a fully digitised, personalised, holistic, compassionate primary care health system, which will integrate all the different aspects of healthcare….

GP yawns.

Jacob: Boring you, am I? Ok, what is the sixth longest river in the world?

PM and GP in unison:  Oh, shut up Jacob (as PM slams shut the desk drawer)

The Right Hon Jacob Cunningly-Snyde (Minister for Government efficiency) appears at the door looking confused.

PM: Ok, I think that is our time up, but please tell your readers the era of human GPs is nearing an end; it is inevitable…. AI is the future of healthcare!!

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and New Year, and with best wishes for 2024… In Dulci Jubilo!

*Deputy Editor’s note: all of us can have a sense of humour failure at this time of year: for those suffering from this affliction, and for the legally pre-dispositioned, the above is intended as satirical fiction and should not be quoted as fact in this branch of the multiverse.


Featured photo by Jordhan Madec on Unsplash
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