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Validation over Valuation

Hello friends, John Gable noticed a problem. Left, right, centre — people read news from sources that
Validation over Valuation
By Mustafa Sultan • Issue #13 • View online
Hello friends,
John Gable noticed a problem. Left, right, centre — people read news from sources that already align with their views — creating an echo chamber. This slowly radicalises people. More importantly, we don’t get to see the full picture.
So he created It’s a news aggregator which presents three options for every story — left, right and centre.
This week, I want to talk about the other side of MedTech. A story in which MedTech is failing patients, rather insidiously.

Isn’t it strange when everyone is raving about something — but you just — don’t get it? That’s the position Dr David Watkins found himself in in 2015.
Babylon had launched in the UK and promised to provide the powers of AI and telemedicine to the NHS. The Babylon chimera lets you video consult with a doctor, often on the same day. This was slightly controversial, but not compared to its other head.
Babylon had developed a sophisticated chatbot AI. After a game of 20 questions, the chatbot would suggest a diagnosis — although crucially (from a regulatory standpoint) it wouldn’t diagnose you.
You would then be directed (triaged) to appropriate care. Mild headache and flu-like symptoms? No problem! Stay at home and take paracetamol. One-sided weakness and slurring your words? Call 999 🚑
Dr Watkins installed the app and began testing it. The details of this testing are disputed — Babylon who refer to him as a ‘troll’ claim that he ran 2400 tests, Dr Watkins claims just hundreds.
More insidiously, Dr Watkins began to notice mistakes the chatbot was making — mistakes that no doctor would ever make. In one test, a 59-year old smoker presents with central chest pain and nausea. Cookie-cutter symptoms of a heart attack, and he is duly warned.
The exact same situation but this time, the patient is a woman—
She is warned of a panic attack.
This week’s podcast is the story of Dr Watkin’s fight against Babylon. It’s a David and Goliath story — a lone oncologist fighting a Saudi-backed behemoth, valued at $2 billion.
A Tribute to
This week’s episode presents a single side of the story. For context, Babylon have done a lot of good in the world. They’ve brought affordable healthcare to Rwanda, created a clinical AI fellowship for doctors and generally offer lucrative remote working opportunities.
Their founder, Ali Parsa, remains on my list of the five most interesting guests I could get on the podcast.
A Tip
This one is for everyone with a email address.
Hey is on a mission to revolutionise email and making the rounds in Silicon Valley. I think they will be the next big email provider. More importantly, they are releasing their first batch of email addresses.
Invites are being given out on a waitlist of sorts. Sign up and get some nice internet real estate — just don’t take 🙏
What I'm Reading
Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America by Christopher Wylie
All the best,
Did you enjoy this issue?
Mustafa Sultan

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