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Comment What the AI is actually diagnosing (Score 1) 74

Another thing to keep in mind is that a chart is not some purely dispassionate recording of standardized metrics. Even before you get to the diagnosis, you are already looking at pre-processed information, and not raw data.

Although there are some parameters recorded for most patients regardless of the issues at hand (such as vital signs, or maybe listening to the patient's heart/lungs), other history and data is selected -- much of the history, review of systems, and physical exam is performed as a way of supporting or excluding items in a differential that the physician is already thinking about. The list of things that I could observe and write down about a human in a chart is practically unlimited, including a long and useless lists of things that patient doesn't have -- and if I choose to specifically mention what findings are absent, it is because I am making a case for one condition or another..

The other thing to consider is that part of the evidence that is used to support or refute a diagnosis is time. Often I ask a patient to follow-up over the next few days, weeks or months as a way to see if things change (or don't change) the way I expect it too. When a patient follows up with me, I may be making a "second opinion" each time, and the ability to follow someone over time is a valuable tool that gets discarded when someone bounces from doctor-to-doctor searching for answers, without ever looping back to previously visited doctors for follow-up. Sometimes there is a list of rare "zebra" diagnosis that I usually don't write down, because I would usually get laughed at by colleagues for jumping at shadows (but I may keep them in mind if things start not making sense in the future). In any case, a doctor who is asked for a second opinion gets the luxury of having both the first doctor's records (hopefully), as well as a data point occurring later in time.

Anyway, can the thought process for making a final analysis of the case a doctor has made from examining a patient be improved? Certainly, but keep in mind Garbage-In, Garbage-Out, if you feed the AI medical records from someone with excellent vs poor clinical diagnosis skills, the quality of your results will vary greatly. Presumably the best results would be obtained when applied to a doctor with good intuition and observation skills, but poorly organized decision making.

Comment Lifetime Earnings comparison (Score 4, Interesting) 126

All I know is the Bay Area Newsgroup reported that a Silicon Valley engineer ultimately earns more over their lifetime than the average NFL football player.

Reminds me of an article comparing a doctor's lifetime earnings vs a UPS driver. In the analysis, the doctor doesn't pull ahead until about 18 years after high school, due to the long period of schooling and residency, plus debt load.

Comment Peter Watt's Blindsight (Score 1) 110

Or we could end up like the soldier character Amanda Bates in Peter Watt's Blindsight, a human inserted into a network of AI driven machines, each quicker and more lethal than her fragile human self. Yet she has the final say and utmost authority over the decision to kill.

The unfortunate implication? Her AI team becomes far more dangerous once the slow-thinking and squishy human dies, and they get let off the leash. Meaning that she has as much to fear from her superiors as from her enemies.

Comment They actually made the damn thing? (Score 2) 69

Roger Walkden, Senior Director and Commercial Lead of HoloLens, acknowledged that the price tag was partly responsible for the small number of sales.

Up until fairly recently, most news about the HoloLens seemed to present it as some sort of far-off research project, with little hope of a commercial product you could actually ever buy. That impression has probably contributed to a lack of hype and development of third-part applications, too.

Comment Unsatisfied demand (Score 1) 308

The $10 Quadrillion figure is total baloney. You can't just take the current value and extrapolate, because the price would fall as the supply rises. A one carat diamond may be worth $10,000, but if there were suddenly a trillion of them, they would be worth next to nothing, and people would use them as gravel in their driveways.

The $10 Quadrillion figure is also a pretty good signal that the current market is unable to respond adequately to meet demand, no? Let somebody satiate that unsatisfied demand, and see what humanity does with it. Certainly that will mean the collapse and disappearance of some current mining industries, but it could also mean the emergence of completely unexpected industries on the demand side of things.

Comment Example of the JBIG2 compression fiasco (Score 4, Interesting) 103

Let's hope Google has had the forethought to have the image recognition algorithm pre-screen for images containing numbers, letters, and diagrams. Pattern-matching compression can be pretty scary when it decides two patterns are close enough:

Comment Picovir (Score 2) 193

A drug called "Placonaril" by Viropharma.

Pleconaril (Picovir) failed FDA trials, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think at first glance. The problem is that the FDA considers common colds to be a trivial health issue for the general public, with very low mortality. Easily treatable with supportive care. However, the segment of the population that might take this drug is very, very large (most of the population). As a result, the FDA will demand perfection from any clinical trials, with the bar set at an impossible to meet standard. Back when this drug was in development, I knew this is exactly what would happen -- the moment Viropharma decided to go after the Common Cold patient population, I knew it was doomed.

The only way something like this could ever pass, is if they defined the drug's indications to be a more dangerous member of the Picornavirus, affecting a much smaller population. Like Enterovirus D68 post-exposure prophylaxis in a child, Poliovirus post-exposure prophylaxis in a non-immune patient, or something like Fulminant Hepatitis A or post-exposure prophyaxis in a non-immunized patient. They didn't understand the politics of drug approval, and so they got squashed. And so it is too late now.

Comment Phone crashing without a Google Account (Score 2) 236

This is another "handle things yourself" situation. I have an Android Phone. No Google Account is attached to it.

I had a supervisor who started having problems with his Verizon android phone crashing frequently. Couldn't figure out why at first, but it turned out there was some aspect of the phone that would crash with no Google Account attached. He barely had any apps installed, so it was likely something that came in the ROM. No Google Account for him of course, he never made one not being a tech savvy person (he didn't even have his own e-mail address, his work e-mails went to his secretary, and any personal emails you had to send to his wife).

I doubt he would have wanted to root his phone to get rid of whatever crap was crashing (it would have been difficult to explain to him what "rooting" was in the first place), so I just showed him how to set up a Google Account (with everything turned off or forwarded elsewhere), and that fixed the problem.

Comment Re: Omar Saddiqui Mateen? (Score 1) 1718

How can atheism be a religion? Be specific, and provide your definition of "religion"

There's a fable in Hinduism regarding this question. I don't know the details very well, but it concerns an atheist who, upon dying, suddenly found himself face-to-face with God (or maybe a god, I don't know). Startled by this turn of events, the man asked the god how this could be, and the explanation was given -- upon the moment of his death, his last thought was "There is no God".

Paradoxically this meant the concept of God was the foremost thing in his mind when he died, and this was sufficient to connect him to the realm of the gods in his afterlife.

Comment Re:That headline is three words too long (Score 1) 92

Apple's special treatment I can understand, with Job's reality distortion field and behind-the-scenes arm twisting backed up by the Apple juggernaut. But what about all those little crappy little landfill Android makers back then? Somehow, they were getting smartphones on the market with functional GPS and functional E-mail, at no additional cost.

You sound like an engineering-type, and it sounds like the engineering side of things knew what were the right decisions that needed to be made. But I suspect the Blackberry upper management was busy "synergizing" with the telecomm upper management, and mutually cooperating to figure out how to extract extra value (value from their perspective, not from the customer's view) with each subscription.

I'm also guessing Blackberry management was also busy figuring out how to extract the maximum value from the telecomm companies at the same time, with the various licenses and special servers required to run Blackberries -- and then the carriers passed the cost on down, along with a nice mark-up. Meanwhile, Google was probably giving away all the needed support for "free", with everything being handled by their cloud.

Either way, when I first got my smartphone, the extra monthly cost of owning a Blackberry was simply too much. Early versions of Android were pretty crappy in various ways, but they were just so much cheaper to buy and cheaper to operate.

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