It’s July 4th week and I must admit I’m not doing much and motivation to write deep thoughts is rather, well, non-existent. I’m content to take a week of doing nothing, Seinfeld style. So my blog contribution this week is on the silly side. But then again, what would you expect?
To set the stage: I was in the audience at a decidedly un-silly conference last week, Harvard’s Precision Medicine 2018: Assembling the Puzzle, hosted by the very wonderful and brilliant Zak Kohane, MD, PhD. I had recently finished my own panel, alongside Amy Abernethy of Flatiron, who I adore, and Troy Brennan, CMO of CVS, who I had never met despite having a Venn diagram of mutual acquaintances that is a near perfect overlap. Our panel was moderated by Martha Bebinger of the Boston NPR affiliate WBUR. We had a great discussion about the disconnects among patients, payers, clinicians and product manufacturers that was nice and spirited.
And then it happened: I relaxed. It seems it had been a while since I had exhaled. And as I sat there taking in the really thoughtful commentary about precision medicine and data and AI (and more AI and more AI), I had a sudden inspiration to write this:
OK, I know, perhaps not my deepest thought and lord knows where exactly in the twisted recesses of my mind this rodent-inspired thought came from, but there you have it. But here’s the best part – the responses. I love Twitter because of the responses and especially because of the other people who can make things even funnier. So for your July 4th reading pleasure, here is a round-up of the best responses to that tweet above (thread on Twitter can be found HERE).
First up is a quasi-clinical response from Feña Avila:
And then Biotech Blonde weighed in with this beauty:
The next comment was that the entire thread was more “Oy than AI.” Which is, in my opinion, entirely the point. Let’s be clear: the woodchuck jokes need to be heavily hand-curated.
But Jon White brought it back to what really matters: Blockchain.
I don’t know Jon, but I love him.
Brian Ellerman and I got into it a little further, he invoking the sacred Alpine Marmot. I laughed out loud at this exchange as it for some reason reminded me of the whole opening scene debate about the African vs. European sparrows in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, my second favorite movie in the world (after Princess Bride). Note: this is foreshadowing.
Of course this got so much attention from the Twitterverse that the press had to get involved. Forbes’ Senior Health Editor, Matthew Herper, and I thus had this exchange.
Matthew went and raised the ante with a woodchuck gif so I had nearly declared him the winner of Twitter that day when Jessica Adams showed up with a whole new angle. Using the AI of Siri to ask woodchuck-inspired AI questions, she got and, because she is obviously a wonderful person, shared three responses, which I shall report in order:
You will note in Siri answer #2 that the Monty Python analog is alive and well. Jennifer, for the inspired use of AI to answer life’s biggest AI questions, I bow down to you and woodchucks generally.
Happy July 4th everyone. May you have at least a few AI-free moments and a paucity of woodchucks (or alpine marmots, as the case may be).