from the world's big
Google is probably wrong about your health condition.
- Thirty-six different international mobile and internet-based symptom checkers gave a correct diagnosis as the top result only 36 percent of the time.
- Web advice on when and where to seek healthcare treatment was correct 49 percent of the time.
- It's been estimated that Google's health related searches approximate to 70,000 every minute.
Troubling research findings<p>The study analyzed 36 different international mobile and internet-based symptom checkers and discovered that they gave a correct diagnosis as the number one result only 36 percent of the time, and as one of the top three results 52 percent of the time. It was also found that the web advice given on when and where to seek healthcare treatment only had a 49 percent accuracy. </p><p>Michella Hill, a ECU Masters student and the lead author of the study, warned that these findings should indicate to people to be cautious before self-diagnosing via the web. </p><p>"While it may be tempting to use these tools to find out what may be causing your symptoms, most of the time they are unreliable at best and can be dangerous at worst," she said in an <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-05/ecu-ner051320.php" target="_blank">Edith Cowan University press release</a>. </p><p>One major problem with the quality of online symptom checkers that Hill highlighted is the lack of government regulation and data assurance.</p><p>"There is no real transparency or validation around how these sites are acquiring their data," she pointed out. It was also discovered that many of the international sites didn't include ailments specific to certain regions like Australia. They also didn't list services relevant to Australia, where the study was conducted.</p>
“Cyberchondria” is on the rise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMxNjI1MC9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NTIyMTA1N30.ZZ1QgfACjqIH8rTOKV4M88__Ze-65NQu1pju4kwcSPM/img.gif?width=980" id="ead99" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="02b2852de5cf06021d309d2c54749ac2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>Hill noted that while we all are guilty of being <a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/if-googling-your-illness-is-making-you-super-anxious-there-s-a-solution" target="_blank">'cyberchondriacs</a>' after feeling the first sign of a potential health hiccup, online symptom checkers should be used with skepticism as they lack necessary context in their health diagnosis and advice.</p><p>"The reality is these websites and apps should be viewed very cautiously as they do not look at the whole picture - they don't know your medical history or other symptoms," said Hill. "For people who lack health knowledge, they may think the advice they're given is accurate or that their condition is not serious when it may be."</p><p>While online symptom checkers like WebMD or Healthline tend to generate a questionable diagnosis, the research found that internet triage advice telling a user when and if to see a medical professional tends to be more accurate. Particularly in the case of medical emergencies. Hill noted that advice for seeking medical attention for emergency and urgent care cases was appropriate around 60 percent of the time. However, for non-emergency cases that dropped to 30 to 40 percent accuracy. </p><p>"Generally the triage advice erred on the side of caution, which in some ways is good but can lead to people going to an emergency department when they really don't need to," explained Hill. </p>
The right way to use online medical sources<p>That's not to say that online resources have no place at all in your individual healthcare. Though medical sites with online symptom checkers are never a replacement for an in-person physician, they can provide helpful information after you have received an official diagnosis from a medical professional. </p><p>"We're also seeing symptom checkers being used to good effect with the current COVID-19 pandemic," said Hill. "For example, the UK's National Health Service is using these tools to monitor symptoms and potential 'hotspot' locations for this disease on a national basis."</p><p>In other words, you can continue to Google your symptoms <a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/if-googling-your-illness-is-making-you-super-anxious-there-s-a-solution" target="_blank">at your own mental health risk</a>, but odds are the first result isn't your problem.</p>
Apps that warn about close contact with COVID-19 cases can help relax social distancing rules.
On April 10, Apple and Google announced a coronavirus exposure notification system that will be built into their smartphone operating systems, iOS and Android. The system uses the ubiquitous Bluetooth short-range wireless communication technology.
A pragmatic approach to fixing an imbalanced system.
- Intentional or not, certain inequalities are inherent in a digital economy that is structured and controlled by a few corporations that don't represent the interests or the demographics of the majority.
- While concern and anger are valid reactions to these inequalities, UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan also sees it as an opportunity to take action.
- Srinivasan says that the digital economy can be reshaped to benefit the 99 percent if we protect laborers in the gig economy, get independent journalists involved with the design of algorithmic news systems, support small businesses, and find ways that groups that have been historically discriminated against can be a part of these solutions.
Do you want Facebook or Google to control your legacy?
- Faheem Hussain, clinical assistant professor at Arizona State University, says we need to discuss our digital afterlife.
- One major problem is that we generally avoid talking about death in the first place.
- Where and how we (and our data) will be used when we die remains a mystery.
A group of women dressed as Catrinas pose as part of the 'Day of the Dead' celebrations on November 2, 2019 in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Photo by Cristopher Rogel Blanquet / Getty Images<p> Social media, like books and clay tablets before them, is just another platform for expression. Sure, it happens to be the most accessible in history, but there is a precedent. The copyright on books eventually expire; clay tablets never had that sort of protection. What about those 20,000 tweets you sent, those photos in which you wrap your arms around your beloved, or all those "private" messages you sent on Facebook? Who takes ownership when your flesh returns to earth? </p><p> Hussain believes everyone should have a say, just as we do when we decide whether we're going to be buried, cremated, or <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/you-can-be-buried-or-cremated-soon-there-will-be-a-third-option" target="_blank">turned into a tree</a>. Facebook transforms your page into a memorial, for which you can appoint a legacy contact. Google has a similar policy. By the year 2100, there could be in excess of five billion Facebook accounts representing the deceased. For the most part, the internet is turning into an unmarked graveyard. </p><p> Will all those posts matter after you're gone, and if so, to whom? We know that data is king when it comes to the living, but what morally deficient corporation will figure out how to monetize the dead? </p><p> We are all Gilgamesh now. Perhaps someone will dig up your clay in a few millennia. Maybe you'll remain in the minds of men for generations to come. Right now you don't have much say in the matter. If you want to control your legacy, however, the discussion needs to begin now.</p>
The BYP Network is shining light on overlooked talent in certain industries.
- The most underrepresented group in the tech industry is the black population, especially in technical and leadership roles.
- The BYP Network is a new platform helping to shine light on talent that is too often overlooked in industries like tech.
- The network currently has around 40,000 users and is projected to grow to 500,000 by 2021.