The buzz about disruption

Disruption means something different to each of us.  Most of us don’t want our goals, our plans or our lives disrupted.

However, in the world of high tech, the term disruption has reached the status of business buzzword. We praise it, clamor for more of it, and encourage it to enter a market and drive exciting innovations.

When we delight in disruption – it is because we are reacting to innovations that can make our work easier and our lives better, safer and healthier.  We aren’t seeking chaos or economic turmoil as part of the equation.

Over the past month, headline after headline declared that 2018 is the year that artificial intelligence (AI) will become more integral and meaningful to our personal and professional lives. This news lands at the feet of a public that still has reservations about embracing AI.

A recent report from the Washington DC-based Information Technology & Innovation Foundation found that the U.S. labor market is not experiencing major technological disruption, according to an ITIF analysis of data sets examining job automation and replacement records dating back to 1850.

Robots are not coming to take our jobs. They are coming to augment our very human intelligence. They are not capable of replacing us anytime soon.

ITIF founder and president and Innovation Economics author Robert Atkinson wrote that the levels of technology-related job loss and replacement in the last 17 years – a time of great technological advancement – is less than half the level recorded from 1950-2000.

“Knowing this is key to making sound decisions that will prevent the public from souring on technological progress, and become overly risk averse, favoring status quo over further innovation,” Atkinson said.

I hope the public sees the possibilities of AI to improve our lives without being distracted by fear. In healthcare, we are only just beginning to tap into the infinite possibilities of AI to uncover a life-changing diagnosis, potential to unlock information, and facilitate the sharing of discoveries.

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