Readers Write In #22: My Views – In Questions

Posted on September 25, 2017

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Those wishful words! Those hopeful eyes! Those words spoken by the young girl who ended her life recently wasn’t just broken English, it was broken dreams. The thought of a young life rich with the potential of good deeds and actions ended by just a piece of cloth causes great pain to me. No explanation is sufficient to reconcile her death. However, I fear that knee jerk reactions of people and of opportunistic politicians are even more grave. People seldom ask questions and scurry towards a conclusion or at least a point of view which is popular. But is it the right decision? Questions are so important! I intend to express my point of view in questions. Here they are:

  • What can explain the disparity between the marks she obtained in her XII exams and the entrance examination?
  • Is the State board doing enough to raise the standard of education?
  • Was she aware of the workings of the examination? (negative marking rule, etc.)
  • Has the NEET committee devised an examination that is based on logic and application of concepts? Or is it just based on the trivial questions from Central board textbooks?
  • What has the Central Govt done to level the playing field? Leveling the playing field doesn’t mean exempting certain states  nor does it mean to have different cut off marks for different people (aka reservation)
  • Would Reservation be scrapped if an upper caste student commits suicide?
  • Can the Govt intervene and regulate the coaching classes sector that seem to have taken advantage of the situation?
  • Can we subsidize entrance exam coaching for underprivileged and disadvantaged students?
  • Can the doctor’s community help the student community by giving free mentoring sessions?
  • Can a group of NRI’s and other well-established professionals raise funds which would cover coaching and other fee for these students?
  • Can we afford to have low standards for getting into medical school?
  • Public hospitals would not be able to compete on the quality of facilities and what people refer to it as “customer experience”. It would have to compete on knowledge. So, shouldn’t public hospitals have better doctors than private hospitals?
  • If public hospitals have better doctors, would it be beneficial for poor people whilst driving the costs of private hospitals down as well?
  • Chennai is known for Medical Tourism and its expert surgeons. But how many of them have done their specializations abroad? How many of them entered the industry solely based on XII exam performance?
  • Why do leading politicians get expert help from other countries? Who pays for this? Can tax payer money be saved if local doctors instead. Why don’t they choose local doctors?
  • Would you trust doctors who have low entry barriers and an easy path towards attaining doctor status?

Now to the more futuristic and hypothetical questions

  • Can humans compete with AI?  (As I write this, an AI robot has cracked a tough entrance exam in Japan. Ironic indeed)
  • If AI can do logical reasoning and rational thinking, would rote memorization by humans benefit mankind in the future?
  • With advances in technology, Watson can diagnose a complex medical problem. Chat bots are doing mental health counselling and Algorithms are detecting eye disease. Is it fine for thousands of lives to be saved by a robot?
  •  AI program getting into Medical School vs human who rote memorizes and gets into Medical School?
  • Would you go for a robot assisted surgery where the chances of failure are less vs a human surgeon with slightly higher chance of failure.
  • Would you go for the human touch and risk failure rather than going for a cold AI touch which would be more efficient?
  • Should humans shift to roles in the medical industry which require a human touch and leave the other jobs to efficient AI Programs?

Ask questions. Sometimes, they might reveal more.

This post was written by Sanjay N M

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