Henry Kissinger wrote an article on, “How the Enlightenment Ends” which related a startling fact about Artificial Intelligence. We are told that a recently designed program, Alpha Zero, plays chess at a level “superior to chess masters and in a style not previously seen in chess history”. On its own, in just a few hours of self-play, it achieved a level of skill that took human beings 1500 years to obtain. Obviously this is a new, strange frontier, leading to territories “where no one has gone before”, with dramatic implications for everyone. But not everyone knows or cares, as humanity would have it, for a fog of indifference blows us here and there at times. However, there is one Del grad who may have it in his power to compel our attention because his work largely deals with the unprecedented. His name is Dr. Marcus Bernardini (Class of 1991) and he is 1 of only 35 gynecologic oncologists in Ontario, a unique specialty that is predominately surgical. Now the narrative becomes pertinent and may land right in our laps. Great strides have been made and are being made in modern medicine. The need is great to deal with tsunamis of burgeoning illnesses upon a strained health-care system attempting to manage so many vicious diseases. The numbers are daunting, and if you have someone cursed by illness, they are frightening. However, be prepared for startling advances in medicine when the twin powers of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics come into play. It is happening right now, and the dramatic results will touch every one of our lives. The pace of innovation will probably be very rapid, even perhaps astonishing. One of the leaders of the University Health Network robotics’ surgery program is indeed Dr. Bernardini, a unique force, a power immersed in the complications of research.
Born and raised in Toronto, he has fond memories of Del. He played soccer and was active in the Math League. He had a good core group of friends, interacting in many circles. After his undergraduate degree and medical degree from the University of Western Ontario, he finished a residency program in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto. As well as obtaining a Master of Science degree he completed his fellowship through U of T which also included training at Duke University Medical Centre. Currently he wears many hats, spreading himself thinly over many obligations (Division Head at University Health Network/Sinai Health Systems, Principal Investigator of a number of trials including the Prevent Ovarian Cancer Program, former Board Member of the Ontario Oncology Association). Imagine the work he has done to reach these heights that allows him to dance around technology with creative insights enabling him to view unprecedented vistas. This talented, exceptional doctor is a gift to us all. We are fortunate to read about him, to learn of his work and see the promise of the future he is creating. We must pray for his good fortune and success, as he will be contributing to a future in which our own health will be at play.
We must remember also that our little school has a dramatic effect, a large impact in our larger society. Our numbers are small but our reach is extensive as our graduates go forth to accomplish wonders. Dr. Bernardini epitomizes this function of De La Salle. The world around us may not always be as fruitful as we try to be. We will keep trying because of people like Dr. Bernardini. They will take us to “where no one has gone before.”
- Alumni Profiles