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#34 - Next Generation Training

{HIMSS18} AI not a Magic Bullet

Artificial Intelligence is not a magic bullet (Courtesy of Getty)

Artificial intelligence (AI) was a key topic during the HIMSS conference in early March in Las Vegas. However, Leonard D’Avolio, co-founder of Cyft and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, warned that teams looking to AI and machine learning as a solution to their system’s problems should be reminded that the technology is not a magic bullet.

“When you think of AI, you have been trained to believe that this is a black box that you dump data into, and then at some point in the not too distant future it cures cancer,” D’Avolio said during a keynote speech. “And then we get upset that said vendor didn’t cure cancer in two years, and we come out with our torches—this was never going to cure cancer in two years!”

D’Avolio argued that these misconceptions are largely driven by the industry’s perpetuating discussions about how AI will replace doctors. For him, this actively prevents constructive discussions on what technology can really do, and how it should be applied. “It’s a tool, not a sentient being,” he said while advising teams to have a clear problem and execution plan in mind before settling on AI as a solution.

The ultimate goal, D’Avolio added, is for the industry to view AI and machine learning as just another analysis tool to be used alongside statistics and data queries. Reaching this point, however, will require IT teams to better understand their own systems.


About the Author

Celia Sampol has been a journalist for 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national media (Agence France Presse, Liberation). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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