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Archive: Kidney Punch April 2012

More on the PBRF’s new clothes

John Pickering Dec 21, 2017

A few of weeks ago I outed the multi-million-dollar exercise that is the Quality Evaluation component of the performance based research fund (PBRF) as a futile exercise because there was no net gain in research dollars for the NZ academic community.  Having revealed the Emperor’s new clothes, I awaited the call from the Minister in … Read More

AI whispering: Be careful what you ask for

John Pickering Dec 14, 2017

In this second episode of AI Whispering I learn to be careful what I ask for and the machine learns a new trick. Oops “…machines are machines are machines… …it’s programming Jim, but not as we know it… ..remember to put the foot on the brake…” Those were some of the mantras I needed to repeat after a faux … Read More

AI whispering: And so it begins

John Pickering Dec 04, 2017

On Friday, I began a new profession, that of AI Whisperer.  Well, actually, I sent a first email to an intelligent machine for a project that we hope will teach it to read electrocardiograms at least as well as most doctors.  So, ‘AI Whisperer’ is more aspirational than reality for now, but as I post about my experiences with the … Read More

Cheesecake Files: The ICare-Acute Coronary Syndrome (heart attack) study

John Pickering Nov 15, 2017

Hundreds of nurses, Emergency Department doctors, Cardiologists and other specialists, laboratory staff, administrators and managers from every hospital in New Zealand with an emergency department have come together to implement new, effective, and safe pathways for patients who think they may be having a heart attack. Today, Dr Martin Than (CDHB, Emergency Department) presented to the American … Read More

Half a million Kiwis suddenly have high blood pressure

John Pickering Nov 14, 2017

At 10am 14 November 2017 NZST, millions of people around the world suddenly had high blood pressure. This will come as a shock to many and may precipitate a crisis in hand-wringing and other odd behaviours, like overmedication and jogging. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have just announced a redefinition of High blood pressure. High blood pressure … Read More

Performance Based Research Fund: a net zero sum game

John Pickering Oct 18, 2017

Throughout the land, more than 7000 academics are awake night after night and suffering.  They are scrambling to gather evidence of just how great they have performed over the last six years. A conscientious bunch, they perform this task with their usual attention to detail and desire to impress (I didn’t say they were modest!).  Ostensibly, this exercise is … Read More

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This is what happens when you talk to your mother about artificial intelligence

John Pickering Oct 03, 2017

I have been chatting with my mother about the headlines around artificial intelligence and my own venture into the field. In this poem she has picked up beautifully, I think, on the idea is that any problems with AI will be because of our own inadequacies as we train the machines.  K.A. Pickering, October 2017   Artificial Intelligence  Artificial Intelligence … Read More

Christchurch meet the future; Zach meet Christchurch

John Pickering Aug 23, 2017

It would have struggled to be more low key.  There was no Champagne.  No flashy graphics.  No celebrity speakers.  But it was probably one of the most radical and important announcements made in Christchurch and in the technology space in decades.  You see, Zach is coming to town and we have all been invited. Zach is an A.I.  Zach belongs … Read More