IBM Addressing Health Disparities

IBM is introducing IBM Health Corps, described in the linked article as:

…a global first-of-its-kind pro-bono program focused on tackling health disparities using IBM Watson’s cognitive tools and analytics. The new service initiative will bring IBM’s top talent and cognitive technologies to help communities address health challenges such as primary care gaps, health worker shortages, and access to safe water and nutritious food.

There is a tiny (okay, perhaps not-so-tiny) part of me that is perhaps unfairly cynical when large corporations want to tackle issues that profoundly affect people’s well-being. My mother used to say that when politicians come calling, watch your skirt and watch your wallet. I’d like to paraphrase that and have it read: when corporations come calling, watch your wallet. Corporations are like cancer – they are very good at growth without regard to the damage they do to the host. There are numerous instances of corporations turning someone else’s pain into profit.

I hope I am wrong. I hope IBM’s attention to health disparities doesn’t turn into yet another example of corporate profit on the backs of the poor, and on the backs of minorities. Those backs can’t bear much more.


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