Although adult education is meant to be accomplished without spoon-feeding, academic physicians find it challenging to avoid spoon-feeding their medical students, residents, and fellows when designing curriculums for them during medical school and graduate medical education (GME). With the advent of the internet and digital information, the situation has become worse instead of better. Artificial intelligence (AI) has not done enough to help humanity or may be helping too much, making humanity irrelevant. Too much information (TMI) is overloading the minds of educators and students who must learn and relearn, validate or refute the ever-updating freely available information. Despite AI and TMI, medical educators are still expected to spoon-feed their students in the currently designed medical school and GME curriculums, for the sake of patient safety and medical student/resident/fellow safety. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and Accreditation Council for GME (ACGME) cannot allow self-learning for medical students, residents, and fellows because patient lives are at stake. Financial conflicts of interest may also come into play for salaried medical educators, funded medical schools, and sponsoring institutions when their medical education and GME programs receive citations, are placed on probationary status, or are forced to withdraw.
The question for medical educators is not why medical students, residents, and fellows are asking questions but why they are not asking at all. Are medical educators overbearing? Are learning curriculums disinteresting? Is study-work-life unbalanced? Ironically, teachers may seem to expect that students should ask questions, but they are worried about what their students may ask for which they may not have perfect answers, especially with the abundance of information available online. If teachers do not have irrefutable information in response to their students’ questions, they still have personal experiences and anecdotes that may be the only thing left as unquestionable. Just like personal beliefs, facts and truths are always evolving and changing in the world exploding with TMI and AI. Therefore, medical students, residents, and fellows should always ask questions, even if their medical educators may not have perfect answers. There are no wrong or dumb questions, and there are no right or perfect answers. It is their own self-learning guided by creative, independent thinking at stake.
Unlike tax professionals and lawyers who may be rarely litigated or held accountable for inadequately managing personally responsible taxpayers’ returns and insufficiently securing personally responsible plaintiffs’ freedom, current and future physicians may always be regarded and deemed as the last guardians of the galaxy called humanity, especially when they, and not their patients, may be held accountable and liable for human suffering blooming and beaming under non-compliance, even in the face of approaching and imminent catastrophes.
TMI and AI will be displacing unprofessional professionals, whether they manage our taxes, defend our deeds, or cure our incurable illnesses. Only creative and independently thinking super-humans may outlive the current humanity turning irrelevant to TMI and AI, unless government revenue collectors keep tax returns complicated to save irrelevant tax professionals, or government lawmakers keep laws incomprehensible to save irrelevant lawyers. However, with none except their powerless patients fighting for their survival, future physicians will most likely be left to their own devices. Both irrelevant humans and super-humans as patients will be seeking the human touch of independently thinking, creative healers, which TMI and AI may never evolve to have.
Therefore, the training of future physicians must prioritize learner-initiated, question-based, entirely interactive sessions, sans spoon-feeding, over educator-initiated didactic webinars and question-based panel discussions, with sporadic interactions, if any. Only inquisitive super-human minds and interactive super-human healers, self-learning to heal humans as well as non-humans, will be able to survive the imminent and inescapable TMI and AI-ruled world. Self-initiated self-learning may not only stimulate learners’ creativity and empowerment but also enhance educators’ productivity and development. It may be the only healing question that can heal the Fisher King.