I have a confession to make. I sometimes overstate things to try to get people to read my blog posts and tweets. I really do not think that avatars and video games are going to replace doctors any time soon (http://ow.ly/3rRuh).
I felt a little guilty today when I read Irene Greif of IBM saying, “I do think of computers as augmenting people, not replacing them. We need help with the limits of the brain, but there are some things that our brains can do that computers can’t do.”
(htt://ow.ly/3rOVR) I felt guilty because I agree with Greif, but my blog headline blared out about avatars and video games replacing doctors.
This guilt reminded me of my reaction to a tweet from @neuroconscience chastising me for retweeting one of his posts with the label “Brain wars.” “@KentBottles Hi, not exactly 'BRAIN WARS', and please don't retweet so sensationally. At least, don't make it look like I said it! Thnx” I was so ashamed and taken aback that I never apologized to @neuroconscience until now. The link I was trying to draw attention to was a blog by LSU graduate student Gary Williams in which he defended Antonio Damasio from criticism by Ned Block at the New York Times Book Review and by Allison Gopnik over at Slate. “Block and Gopnik level the exact same argument against Damasio: he has conflated the minimal self with the reflective self and mistakenly claimed that the minimal self depends on the reflective self.” (http://j.mp/fwVrG2)
What struck me today was how fortunate I am to be able through twitter to interact and learn from others who think differently than I do. @neuroconscience is listed on the twitter profile as Micah Allen from Arhus, Denmark, and I got in trouble by labeling as “brain wars” a thoughtful essay by Gary Williams who obviously understands the minimal self and the reflective self I lot better than I do. It goes without saying that I have never met either Williams or Allen, but I used to work with Damasio at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.
Many of the people in my twitter tribe (@e-Patient Dave, @Susannah Fox, @healthythinker, @murzee, @maggiemahar come immediately to mind) share the same opinions I do about many things and usually understand my sarcasm and exaggeration. Or at least I hope and think they do. Micah Allen is a Danish academic, and I thank him for making me think more deeply.
I, like IBM, am “trying to break out of the standard way people use social networks to navigate the flood information. Typically, people interact with generally like-minded friends and thus create an ‘echo chamber’ where prejudices are reinforced. Such a posture also helps flatten the culture – reduces the culture to memes if you will; we float along the same YouTube clip everyone else is passing along. Treat serious news as gossip, and vice versa.” (htt://ow.ly/3rOVR)
I do not want to exist in an echo chamber; I want to learn and grow. I try to read the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times every day, and I enjoy seeing how the right and the left view the same stories differently. I follow @mparent77772 and @pharmaguy on twitter because they often do not see things the same way I do. I try to read John C. Goodman’s conservative Health Policy Blog (http://healthblog.ncpa.org/) as much as Maggie liberal Mahar’s Healthbeat blog (http://www.healthbeatblog.org/). I need all the help I can get to understand health care and patients and doctors and tests and myself.