Monthly Archives: May 2017

The most dangerous AI – Mike’s blog

Artificial intelligence is the hottest topic in medical informatics.  The promises of an intelligent automation in medicine’s future are equal parts optimism, hype, and fear.

In this post, Mike Hearn struggles to reconcile the paradox surrounding the supposedly objective, data-driven approaches to AI and the incredibly opinion-charged, ultra-political world from which AI draws its data source.

The post focuses on broader applications, but in medicine, a similar problem exists. If AI is expected to extract insight from the text of original research articles, statistical analyses, and systematic reviews, its “insights” are marred by human biases.

The difference, of course, is that AI may bury such biases into a machine learning black box.  We have an increasing body of research on latent human biases, but machine biases are much harder to discover, particularly when it reflects the inherent biases in the data from which it draws its conclusions. Our own biases.

AI acts as a mirror. Sometimes we don’t like the face staring back at us.

Source: The most dangerous AI – Mike’s blog

Are You Solving the Right Problems?

This month’s Harvard Business Review has an article highlighting one of the most fascinating emerging trends in quality improvement: that a “root cause” exists may be a myth.  As healthcare QI/QA moves towards eliminating errors and improving metric-based performance, the increasing obsession towards solving a quality problem is laudable but sometimes misguided.

This excellent HBR article focuses on reframing.  In short, what you say after discovering a complex problem is important.  Before saying “Let’s start making a pareto chart and collect some data!” try inserting a 30-second pause with, “Is that the right problem we should be solving?”

Without spoiling the fun of reading the article, try thinking through this issue before reading – You have received multiple complaints about the speed of your building’s elevators.  How would you address this problem?


In fact, the very idea that a single root problem exists may be misleading; problems are typically multicausal and can be addressed in many ways.

Source: Are You Solving the Right Problems?