How would you train an IA system to manage a veterinary centre?

Many of us have spent some time "playing" with Chat GPT, curious to find out if so much media noise was justified.

In this context, I asked myself the following question amusementIf you were to train an AI (artificial intelligence) system to manage a veterinary centre, what would you explain to it?

My first intuition was to design some kind of algorithm or decision tree related to the profitability of a clinic, since from my lack of knowledge about the detailed functioning of IA systems I tend to believe that they solve everything based on more or less simple decision rules. Table #1 identifies possible reasons for poor profitability, and proposes some additional "tips" or analyses to confirm the diagnosis of the problem.

The details of the "tips" indicated for each situation are presented in Table #2:

Well, now armed with this arsenal of "problem-solutions", which would no doubt be effectively learned and applied by any IA system, I persuaded a friend, founder of a veterinary centre, to step away from management for a few weeks and delegate this heavy burden to the new IA system.

After a few weeks, I received a call from him. Apparently the experiment had been an unmitigated disaster.

My friend explained: "Do you know what has happened? With the new IA system we are detecting a lot of things we are doing wrong, many of them we had not even seen before or didn't understand why they were wrong. However, when I share the diagnosis with my team and tell them that I expect to see better results in the coming weeks... nothing changes!

Moral of this implausible fictional story:

  • It is necessary to do the numbers and understand them, but it is not enough.
  • Sitting with the team and shouting because a number is bad will not change the number (no matter how loudly you shout).
  • To change the numbers, you have to change people's behaviour. And this requires a dose of leadership, capacity building, motivation, systems...

Artificial Intelligence can be a spectacular support tool for management, but let's not hand over our responsibility as leaders to it!

Pere Mercader - Managing Partner of VMS

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