Why AI Is Not Always The Right Path Forward. Do Not Mess With This Grandfather. “Ain’t Nobody”
- I find it interesting, and sometimes puzzling, why the topic of healthcare seems to be an increasingly top-of-mind discussion point for too many people. I had a lengthy conversation about healthcare with two friends, one from Scottsdale, Arizona, and the other from Toronto, Canada. I found the conversation interesting with the topic covering everything from increasing costs to the quality of healthcare in the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian, for obvious reasons, boasted about her country’s publicly funded healthcare system, known as Medicare. The Canadian Medicare system is a set of ten provincial and three territorial healthcare systems, covering a wide range of services including childbirth, surgery, and prescription drugs. Based on this riveting 🙂 conversation about healthcare, I decided to post about the U.S. healthcare system.
The U.S. healthcare system is often criticized for various reasons, and some people describe it as corrupt or flawed due to several factors. It’s important to note that this description does not apply to all aspects of the healthcare system, and many healthcare professionals and institutions work diligently to provide high-quality care. However, some common criticisms and issues include:
- High Costs: The United States spends more per capita on healthcare than any other developed country. The high costs can be attributed to various factors, including administrative expenses, the cost of prescription drugs, and the high salaries of healthcare professionals.
- Lack of Universal Coverage: Unlike many other developed countries, the U.S. does not have a universal healthcare system. This means that millions of Americans are uninsured or underinsured, leading to disparities in access to care.
- Insurance Industry Complexity: The involvement of private health insurance companies has led to a complex and fragmented system. This complexity can result in high administrative costs and difficulties for patients in understanding their coverage.
- Pharmaceutical Industry: The cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. is often much higher than in other countries. The pharmaceutical industry’s pricing practices have faced scrutiny and criticism.
- Profit-Driven Healthcare: Some argue that the profit motive in healthcare can lead to overuse or unnecessary procedures, tests, and treatments, as well as a focus on profit over patient well-being.
- Inequality: Disparities in healthcare access and outcomes based on factors such as race, income, and location are significant concerns.
- Lobbying and Political Influence: The healthcare industry, including pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers, and hospital groups, often wields significant influence in U.S. politics, which can shape healthcare policy and regulation.
- Legal Issues and Fraud: There have been cases of fraud and abuse within the U.S. healthcare system, including insurance fraud, kickbacks, and overbilling.
It’s important to recognize that while there are systemic issues, the U.S. healthcare system also provides world-class care in many areas, and many healthcare professionals are dedicated to their patients’ well-being. Reform efforts continue to address some of the issues, but the complexity of the system and political considerations make significant changes challenging. Public discourse and policy debates about healthcare reform in the U.S. are ongoing.
Did you fall asleep reading that? Reality:
- I had a conversation about healthcare with my friends from Scottsdale and Toronto.
- I did write the opening paragraph.
- I did NOT write the italicized content. All of that content was written in under five seconds using artificial intelligence, specifically ChatGPT – Open AI.
After reading a good bit about artificial intelligence, I am going on record that I am very concerned about its use, the impact on our society, and how it may affect general human behavior. Without trying to put you to sleep with my concerns with AI, here are three in no particular order:
- AI’s ability to generate and use algorithms that prioritize engagement over truth – and how this may divide and polarize content…any content.
- The ability for AI to create or alter social media platforms to generate attention, emotions, and beliefs, and create a distorted sense of reality.
- How value and ethics come into play with the use of artificial intelligence, and depending on who is using AI, their ability to promote good, bad, and evil.
I used the comparison of the U.S. and Canada healthcare systems as an example of AI-generated content. Simple, straightforward, and no harm, no foul with that type of content. Where the use of AI goes sideways: it is an ungovernable technology and can be used by bad people to wrongly shape opinion, behavior, and values by generating content that is harmful and incorrect. The following are examples of AI going terribly wrong:
- In 2016, Microsoft launched an AI chatbot named Tay on Twitter. The chatbot was designed to learn from the interactions it had with users and become more intelligent over time. However, within a day of its launch, Tay began spewing racist and sexist comments.
- In 2018, Amazon had to scrap an AI recruiting tool because it was biased against women.
- In 2020, a study used AI to predict criminality from faces. Researchers from Harrisburg University announced that they had developed facial recognition software that could predict whether someone would be a criminal. The software could allegedly predict from a single photo of a face with an 80% accuracy rate and no racial bias. In response to this announcement, 2,425 experts signed a letter urging the journal not to publish this study or similar research in the future because this type of technology can reproduce injustices and cause real harm to society.
- In 2021, OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model was found to be generating racist and sexist content.
One theorist, Tristan Harris, argues that “AI is not just a tool, but a force that is shaping our perspective and reality in ways that we are not aware of or in control of. He also claims that AI is creating a “race to the bottom of the brain stem”, where tech companies compete to capture our attention and manipulate our emotions, often at the cost of truth, ethics, and human dignity.” Harris also believes that a level of AI legislation and regulation must be enacted very soon as “AI will end the world by amplifying our own human flaws and biases, and creating a feedback loop of polarization, misinformation, and extremism. He says that AI is already eroding our trust in each other and in institutions and undermining our democracy and social cohesion. He warns that AI could also trigger existential risks, such as nuclear war, bioweapons, or climate change, by destabilizing the geopolitical order or enabling malicious actors.”
I am not sure I agree with Harris’ extreme views on AI, but I do believe that entities better get a grip on the use of artificial intelligence very soon.
Last week’s post discussing the tragedy in the Middle East evoked a good bit of feedback and comments. The ongoing horrible saga continues with no end in sight. Last week’s comments on the tragic events will be my last, though I felt it was important to substantiate and depict the reality of terrorism, whether it be in the Middle East or here in the United States. Below is a snippet of a thirteen-minute segment of last Sunday’s 60 Minutes, which after fifty-five years, is still one of the best written ‘news magazine’ shows on television.
This thirteen-minute video documents the heroism of a former Israel Defense Force operative, who did not hesitate to go into battle again to rescue his son and family, as well as a couple fleeing the terrorists, and two wounded Israeli soldiers. Thirteen minutes that most of us cannot relate to. This thirteen minutes is worth your time: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/israeli-family-rescued-by-retired-idf-general-60-minutes-video-2023-10-15/
- I try to end every post with a bit of positivity and fun, and today will be no different.
Part of an inter-racial funk band, which started over fifty years ago, Chaka Khan, in my opinion, has been in a league of her own. Her powerful and amazing voice evokes emotion, happiness, and soulfulness. After fifty years accumulating numerous awards, including ten Grammy’s, Chaka Khan has finally been elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It really does not get any better than the 1983 classic “Ain’t Nobody.”