When I was growing up in the UK people were suspicious of curiosity. There was even a strange proverb ‘Curiosity killed the cat’, hardly a ringing endorsement! It suggests that being curious might get you into trouble, which may explain why so many curious children have always turned into dull adults.
Strange because curiosity underpins learning and progress of all types. It is the driving force behind scientific discovery and the catalyst for creative thinking, both obviously important in healthcare. For pharma ‘what if?’ is a very relevant question, not just for drug development but also for pharma marketing, particularly now as marketers seek to reconnect with customers in a virtual world.
Pharma’s curiosity both in research and marketing is increasingly assisted by AI, which may also be enhanced by ‘artificial curiosity’. Described as the link between machine learning and artificial consciousness1, it is an important component of machine intelligence. One which also reminds us that, perhaps now more than ever, we humans need to nurture the development our own curiosity by building it into the culture of our organisations and institutions.
Currently, as a machine called ‘Curiosity’ roams Mars, we have been forcibly reminded by Covid-19 of the problems that we need to solve back here on earth. Traditionally, curiosity might have been viewed with caution but it remains vital to both our collective and individual futures!
- How can artificial intelligence become curious? Towards Data Science: May 3rd 2019