Exploring the wild and wonderful world of over-the-top AI stock art

In this podcast, we speak with Harvard professor and Cyft CEO Len D'Avolio about the wide gap between artificial intelligence in real-world healthcare, and how it's often depicted in sci-fi illustrations.
By Mike Miliard
11:11 AM

It's the last day of November, which means it's also the end of our Focus on Artificial Intelligence here at Healthcare IT News. (But by no means the end of our ongoing coverage as AI continues to evolve and embed itself in all facets of day-to-day healthcare.)

Over the past 30 days, we've learned a lot. We've shown how machine learning depends on clean and high-test data for fuel, how CIOs are keeping tabs on AI efficacy with dashboards and how all of this is changing the roles of all sorts of health system employees.

It's no joke how augmented intelligence and machine learning are transforming care processes, reimbursement models, workflows and workforces in real and profound ways.

But for the capstone of AI month, we decided to have some fun.

Len D’Avolio, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and CEO of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based machine learning company Cyft, is an expert in artificial intelligence.

Wherever he's working at a given time, his goal is to "try to help healthcare organizations do a better job of using their data to deliver better care – the right care to the right people at the right time – and to make value-based care successful," said D'Avolio.

"Data and technology play a huge role," he said. "But a really big part of it is making sure that can be turned into better care and more revenues and more efficieny to help those organizations thrive." More and more, AI is intrinsic to that goal.

In addition to his many hats in academia and the startup world, D'Avolio is also a connoisseur of over-the-top AI stock art. As you may have noticed, there's no shortage of it these days.

Despite the fact that AI and and machine learning are now ubiquitous if unseen in daily reality, to look at many artists' representations, you'd think they're still the realm of deep-space science fiction: sleek and menacing robots, silicon chip cerebral cortexes crackling with current, glowing cyborg eyes.

We can empathize. It can be difficult enough to explain how AI works at all – that's why they call it a black box, after all – let alone to draw a picture of it.

But hard as it may be for artists to accurately depict complex abstract concepts such as AI – or, for that matter, even newer tech such as blockchain – that doesn't mean it's not fun to make some jokes about it. We spoke with D'Avolio recently about his own favorite images. Follow along here with our AI art critique.

Focus on Artificial Intelligence

In November, we take a deep dive into AI and machine learning.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media. 

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