med ∩ ml

Education before innovation

We live in a fast changing world, everyone seems to be working on the next big thing while you still haven’t got used to the previous big thing. We look at technology, science and innovation as our new saving god, while overlooking something more fundamental: education.

It seems we just want to solve everything with technology and new discoveries: travelling, diseases, waiting times to visit a doctor, etc. I believe many of those things could be alleviated with a better education instead of throwing money and headlines at the next company trying to solve it.

I am not saying that part is not necessary, I think it’s more needed than ever before, and companies trying to improve our society should be praised for that, but; teaching people what symptoms need to be really checked and teaching how to have a good lifestyle (diet, exercise, meditation…) would have an infinitely bigger impact on healthcare and waiting times that creating the best management app for a hospital; teaching why recycling is important, why riding your bike can be faster and more convenient than your car or why you don’t need to renew your wardrobe every year would have a bigger impact on the environment than most of the current “high-tech” solutions.

Something similar may happen with “artificial intelligence” (I’m putting it between quotation marks since I don’t like that term too much, but I’ll keep that for a different post). Many people are working on creating solutions using machine learning. However, many times the end user may be overlooked. Maybe sometimes we should think about the impact on that user: if we give them a diagnostic tool, will they have the criteria to not overreact and consider the possibility of the algorithm not being perfect? Are there other points to be addressed before this tool is useful? Can the problem be solved by just giving people better information?.

I don’t mean to go against new solutions, I love them, the craziest the better. Also, improving “artificial intelligence” is fantastic, but let’s not forget to improve our society’s intelligence too.

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