From absurdity to solution
Keynote brings think tank mindset to problem-solving
SPE01 - Keynote Session: AI for the Sake of Humanity - Jekyll Vs. Hyde
Saturday, October 22 | 8:45-10 a.m.
Great Hall A/D
Each year, the Saturday morning keynote address kicks off the ANESTHESIOLOGY® annual meeting in dramatic fashion, setting the tone for the days that follow. This year, with entrepreneur, inventor, and philanthropist Mick Ebeling as keynote speaker, expect that tone to be one of exuberance and inspiration and to leave a lasting impression.
Ebeling is the founder and CEO of Not Impossible Labs, a frenetically inventive think tank whose purpose is to use technology to identify “absurdities” and create solutions to end those absurdities. Not Impossible’s stated mission is to “create technology for the sake of humanity.” Its overarching motto might be: “Help One. Help Many.”
That is certainly something every anesthesiologist can relate to, particularly in the use of technology toward the singular goal of safe, high-quality patient care. Ebeling’s lecture is tellingly titled “AI for the Sake of Humanity - Jekyll vs. Hyde.” He indicated that all technology is feared at first, and artificial intelligence (AI) is no different.
“AI has the ability to transform the world, BUT we must always be mindful and analytical as to where we utilize AI and where we don’t,” Ebeling said. “As a pilot, I love autopilot when I fly, but I never fall asleep at the rudder.”
Anesthesiologists were, and continue to be, particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will certainly inform Ebeling’s talk. But challenges, he says, are a given in life for everyone and should be the impetus for positive change.
“We are a species of Darwinistic survivors. If we take a moment to reflect on that simple fact, it should give you at least a small feeling of accomplishment,” he said. “If nothing else, that simple perspective of how truly fortunate we are to only have the problems we have is enlightening and humbling.”
From medicine delivery by drone, to smart sensors that monitor seizures and tremors, to cutting-edge prosthetics and therapeutic gait-trainers, Not Impossible Labs continues to be a world leader in medical technology innovation. Ebeling calls Naval surgeon Dr. Tom Catena his hero. Dr. Catena is perhaps best known for his humanitarian work in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan.
“Tom truly represents what it means to serve others. His unwavering commitment to healing and helping is something that inspires me beyond words,” said Ebeling. “My favorite saying from him is his version of a saying from St. Francis: ‘Preach the Gospel always. Use words as little as possible.’”
And that is where action and participation come in – concepts that resonate, seemingly, in everything Ebeling has lectured on or written. Of ASA he said, “55,000 people have the potential to create massive change in the world. Imagine what can happen when that many people unify behind a cause and have a common purpose!”
As his keynote lecture nears, Ebeling said he is inspired by meeting brilliant, passionate people and that he expects nothing less from ANESTHESIOLOGY 2022.
“My hope is that the story of Not Impossible and the absurdities we tackle stir up and remind the audience that they have the potential to create incredible change in the world – not just within the medical community, but for the world as a whole. The concept of ‘impossible’ is a fallacy. I hope my talk demonstrates that emotionally and conclusively.”
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