Will robots replace surgeons?

Twice a year we host a Big Question lecture, a talk aimed at our Youth Members and delivered by leaders in biology and medicine. Visitors hear about ground-breaking research happening here in London, and get to ask our speakers about their work.

For our Spring 2020 Big Question Lecture we were joined by Professor Shafi Ahmed who explored how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence could revolutionise medicine and pave the way for more equitable surgical care across the globe.

Watch the lecture below, or scroll down to learn more about Professor Shafi Ahmed.

Professor Shafi Ahmed

Professor Shafi Ahmed is a multi-award winning surgeon, teacher, futurist, innovator and entrepreneur. As his day job, Shafi is a consultant cancer surgeon at The Royal London and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals. After hours, he is always looking at ways of translating technology into clinical practice with a mission to provide affordable and accessible surgical training to anyone and everyone.

Shafi made world headline news in 2014 by streaming a live operation using Google Glass to 14,000 students and trainees across 132 countries. In December 2016 he used the Snapchat spectacles to record and teach surgery across the globe, which has had over 100 000 downloads and reached millions of people through social media. In 2018 he performed a live operation on Channel 5 for a programme titled ‘Operation Live’, which was shortlisted for a BAFTA award in 2019.

Shafi’s passion for merging the world of medicine, global education, and virtual reality was the driver behind co-founding Medical Realties, who have developed the world’s first virtual reality training platform. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Silver Scalpel award for the best national trainer in surgery in 2015; British Bangladeshi Person of the Year in 2016; and the Future NHS award in 2018.