Monthly Archives: August 2018

Will AI solve capitalism, or, can we have our science back please

Health care in the USA costs twice as much per capita than in any other western country, with worse outcomes. Every other country has socialised health care, except the USA. The fix for the USA? Well, according to a recent online article in Wired on Alphabet aka Google’s investments in tech, the industry will find the solution in big data, captured real time, with AI and machine learning. Really.

How did science get in such a mess? Tech is now our go-to magic solution for health inequalities, for climate change, for ending disease. Our very own black box. And this isn’t new. The UK Labour Prime Minister in the 1960s, Harold Wilson, gained popularity by saying in a major speech that he would “harness the white heat of technology” for a better life for everyone.

But science requires proof, not just hope. And on the proof side, tech hasn’t delivered all the goods it promised. But don’t worry, tech says, we are only one more upgrade away from the answer … 5G, 6G, 7G … we will crack it very soon. Just sign here please.

Tech has a positive role, from artificial limbs to MRI scans. But all things in moderation. It isn’t magic, and it isn’t a reason to stop looking for non-tech solutions as well. As with eating more non-processed food, if we want a better future we need to critically challenge the magical thinking, and apply scientific thinking to tech.