I have an amateur interest in aviation so I am following the MAX 8 concerns with great interest.

Among the issues raised with the MAX 8 is the interaction of automated technology and imperfect data input. Simply put: An excellent but completely automated system can be undone by imperfect data input, resulting in automatic ‘corrections’ that amplify the error.

All of us are going to be seeing these issues of interactions of expert systems in our day to day life, and how they can malfunction with small inaccuracies of input data. It is really the problem of AI (artificial intelligence) which is so very useful, but which does not provide the judgement needed to correct errors that don’t fit in standard models.

This is exactly what an expert internist provides. Like the most-seasoned pilot, and expert clinician has seen so many variations of ‘normal’ situations that they can ignore data that is inconsistent, trusting their judgement when crucially important, over a test results that doesn’t ‘fit’.

Like Will Rodgers said long ago: Good judgement comes from experience and at lot of that comes from bad judgement. My bad judgement days are behind me (read intership, residency, and my first years in practice). Although I’m in no way ‘perfect’, I am perfecting my knowledge by having an enormous volume of experiences.

A busy doctor is ‘practicing’ all of the time. Gaining knowledge incrementally with each encounter. Every year I see a few new things that I’ve never seen before. Integrating this into my storehouse of knowledge improves my performance with time and I know it is allowing me to ‘pilot the ship’ of medicine more ideally.