Kutchibotla’s Murder: A Lesson for Chatbots in Healthcare

Using any technology is as good as using Special human Power, let’s be sure for what the power is being used

I am thankful to Mary-Claire King, professor Medicine, and Genome Sciences, University of Washington, for her letter “To All Indian Parents” (appeared in the March 3 edition of The Hindu) which assures all Indian parents of their children’s safety in America. She notes that as Indian young adults move to a foreign land to nurture their dreams, parents need reassurance, especially after the scary incident of Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s murder in Oalthe, Kansas.

I quote Mary:

“Our children follow their own ambitions and these ambitions often take them far away for some time. Young Indian scientists working in the U.S. are advantaged by what they learn, the U.S. is advantaged by their skills, India is advantaged by the new knowledge they bring home, and science and medicine are advantaged by all of us working together. Scientists are citizens of the world. If your children come to us for a time to pursue their scientific careers, we will protect them as we do our own…
We are first humans than anything else. As global citizens of the world, we all share the same anatomy, same sun, same moon, same ozone layer and several other natural gifts by birth. The medical problems and dieseases that arise due to ozone depletion, climate change issues, air pollution,nuke attacks or hate crimes anywhere affect not just a child in India or America but children in Germany, China, Australia, Dubai or in any part of the world are equally affected by them.Solution to such age-old man-nurtured problems can only be developed when the learned and the capable come together to devise global solutions enabled by cutting edge technologies like bots for global health issues.”
Thus, the first and most important lesson for creators and problem solvers to understand is that all beings are connected, and we are first citizens of earth and then citizens of any country.

Take a Case — AMR

Antimicrobial resistance(AMR) is the ability of a micro-organism to stop antimicrobials, such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials, from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist and spread.

Doctors around the world are ringing warning bells against antibiotic resistance in children. In one statement, the World Health Organization said, “Antibiotics resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options.”

Countless parents can make use of Healthcare Chatbots in support of 3A’s

If healthcare chatbots are built and trained to help parents or doctors tackle such public health threat, what parent would refrain from chatting with a bot to get answers? Doctors would also find the bots helpful in driving campaigns like the 3A’s (Avoid Antibiotic Abuse) campaign or the drive against “self-medication.”

“Does my child need antibiotics for this infection?”
“My child got this again, should I repeat the dose?”
“What should I do if I missed the doctor prescribed dosage schedule?”
“The prescribed drug is not available and the doctor is out of reach, what should I do?”

Being cognizant of the global impact of critical health issues and coming together for a purpose which asks for technological advancement and application in the right direction would cause the natural outcomes of increased traffic, customer engagement, and advocacy. For that, I answer a big “YES” to the question I asked in previous medium article on AI (For Now, AI does not know what it does not know.)

“Do we really need bots and their intelligence for this?”

The evolving and much-hyped chatbots backed by AI, NLP, Deep learning and other advanced technologies are anticipated to change everything from how we talk, think, work, analyse, practice hobbies, make friends or do business.And most of the bots are being build either for fun or for getting an experience of the latest buzz or to be improved after data collection & analysis from selected easy and not needy markets.

After traveling in the Bot world, I realised our ability to make a real change for greater good is limited only by our capacity to co-imagine how AI-based technologies or machines can benefit us in general and on our ability to take concrete actions over them together.(Source: For Now, AI does not know what it does not know, another Medium Article by me)

For this I would not ask a bot to help me, rather if human experts from various other disciplines come together to scrutinise the ethical, legal, societal ramifications of artificially intelligent systems, we all will be in a better position to handle the exponential growth that may happen very soon looking at the rate we are progressing in a single dimension -Technology.

Let us train our health bots and nurture them, via deep learning, to solve pressing problems that we have ignored for so long. As Sina Falaki pointed in his article Chat Bots: Cool Technology… Low Customer Retention:

“We know where the consumers are. We’ve built bots to reach them.
 But the consumers aren’t biting…Even if you knew you could reach a representative in seconds, would you call your bank to ask what the branch hours were on Saturdays? Or would you just look it up on Google, and continue on with your day?”

No matter how intelligent bots are, scripted or autonomous, a Q&A conversation with a bot may not prove to be as effective as searching Google for now. Yet in healthcare, there is an observed scenario reversal. Replying to my call for speakers for BotCast 1.0 podcast, Healthcare botmakers Dr. Hajnalka Hejja & Cristina Santamarina acknowledged the general global scenario observed in healthcare:

It has been observed that most of the people facing minor to major health issues will go to “Dr. Google” to find answers. People with healthcare concerns are not only worried about their health, they’re also concerned about how much time their problem will take to fix and how much it will cost. These pain points drive them to become this type of Dr. Google’s healthcare consumer in the first place.

Solution: What if we develop and train a chatbot to help the patients instantly, without worrying about the wait list in appointments? Help them sail smoothly through their journey so that any patient who takes the final step in the journey experiences an informed Zero Moment of Truth.

Right now health care BotMakers are nurturing and training their baby bots, but let us get this basic lesson learned first before moving ahead.

For what the bot is being developed for? and the key question:
“Do we really need bots and their intelligence for this?”


**Srinivas Kuchibhotla would have celebrated his 33rd birthday on March 9,2017. I have no idea of the loss recovery in this case, but I offer this article as a prayer for all those wonderful global citizens who definately don’t deserve such a cruel untimely death.**