Two Titans Tap Cognitive Powers to Unleash Humanity’s Great Potential

AI, ChatGPT, GenAI and LLMs Must Become Part of the Physician’s Black Bag - What If Burt Giges, MD and John Nosta Teamed-Up to Usher in the Cognitive Age

I have been blessed with many professional mentors throughout my career journey – sharpening my knowledge of medicine, finance, communications, and human dynamics. Many friends and past and present colleagues honed my abilities and expanded my self-awareness.  If button-holed to point to one (diplomatically – in respect to the many others), it would be my late father-in-law Burton Giges, MD – a loving husband and father, a physician’s physician respected for his clinical wisdom, honored as a teacher, and valued as a therapist.

Throughout his lifetime, Burt had three distinguished careers. First, he worked as an internist and medical researcher and was known for his peer-reviewed accomplishments in hepatic liver disease. He conducted clinical research at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, MD, and completed his military service as a US Army captain. Afterward, working at one of the nation’s leading research institutes, Rockefeller University, he focused on hepatic (liver) diseases. His research appeared regularly in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Initially an infectious disease specialist focusing on hepatic disease, Burt Giges, MD, focused on liver diseases at Walter Reed Hospital and Rockefeller University. He later shifted to psychiatry. His clinical papers appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals. He honed his theories on how emotion impacted physical performance, which would later influence the field of sports psychology.

Avoid Complacency

Never complacent, next, he focused on mental health, studying psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and becoming a Chief Resident and faculty member. He later committed himself to public health service as the director of community mental health centers in Westchester County, New York. He was a distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Two medical careers – let alone one – would be enough for most. Still, Burt began his third career–in sports psychology – when he was in his 60s – incorporating a solid theoretical foundation that included a variety of psychological approaches, such as understanding the unconscious mind, focusing on the individual’s unique experiences and potential for growth, exploring the meaning of life and human existence, studying how thoughts and behaviors influence each other and emphasizing the importance of the whole experience into his work. For decades, he helped athletes identify and understand psychological barriers that stood in the way of their performance goals. Often referred to as “Yoda,” he was tapped in his 80s to become the Association for Applied Sport Psychology president.

His capacity to retain and apply information was superhuman – uncanny (and sometimes uncomfortable).  His pattern recognition skills were razor-sharp, and he operated at total capacity well into his 90s.  Before the term “artificial intelligence” was coined in 1952, Dr. Burt Giges exhibited human-derived machine learning “computing” power – pure applied intellect.  His quest for truth and optimizing human potential led him to cognitive psychology at its earliest stage.

[Dr. Burt Giges was a renowned expert on self-awareness and sports psychology consulting, a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and listed on the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. In this program, Dr. Giges, then close to 90 years old, introduces the concept of self-awareness and provides examples of how self-awareness might be used to enhance sports psychology consulting.]

Stretch Yourself to the Limit

“The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility of becoming. You cannot believe what it does to the human spirit to maximize your human potential and stretch yourself to the limit.” These words reflect Burt’s belief in the transformative power of striving to reach one’s full potential. He understood that cognitive awareness could unleash someone’s potential and applied it to his progressive growth and all that sought his counsel.

Though gone, his ideas are still taught and his words continue to be studied. His call to look beyond the superficial and at the root cause of behaviors made him an extraordinary therapist. This persistence in seeking the root cause of symptoms, whether tackling mysterious infectious diseases, emotional struggles, or human dynamic challenges, made him one of a kind. This capacity made him an exceptional healer of people’s physical and mental health, enabling them to reach greater potential.  Imagine if Bert and people like him were united to define the benefits of today’s intelligent technologies. Cognitive performance opens the door to our best leveraging these expansive information processing tools.

Enter the Cognitive Age

Recently, after a conversation with John Nosta, who now appears in his third appearance on Health Unabashed Healthcare Now Radio, I wondered what would happen if Burt and John shared the same main stage. John has become the singular voice exploring the nexus between human capacity and technology as an ally. Like my father-in-law, his journey is a book of diverse career chapters. Earlier, John pursued and published cardiovascular research. He then moved into major roles at creative agencies as Chief Creative Officer, Chief Strategic Officer, and Unit President. Now, Nosta’s voice champions intellectual curiosity, disruptive thinking, and innovative problem-solving approaches. 

[John Nosta is a thinker entrenched in technology, science, medicine, and innovation. As the founder of NostaLab, a globally recognized innovation think tank, he embodies an inspired vision of transformation that resonates across industries and intellectual spheres.]

It would been electric to see my father-in-law Burt and John in conversation – perhaps the exchange would have been a memorable lightning round knock-out debate or two compelling people pushing us higher and higher. Two people in search of “truth.”  While I am sometimes occasionally positioned against John as “titans’ battling in the innovation ring to draw in webinar and podcast listeners, our sparring is more of a “lovefest for supporting humanity’s greater potential rather than titans in opposition. 

John – always a step ahead of the crowd – speaks to how this era should be termed the Fifth Industrial Revolution.  He refers to the symbiosis of human intelligence and computational prowess. The Cognitive Age Nosta outlines leverages AI as a cognitive partner, augmenting and enhancing human intellect. John did not know my father-in-law, and had they met and exchanged insights, they undoubtedly would have engaged in a very spirited conversation. 

Would they have agreed that AI, ChatGPT, GenAI and LLMs do not make human intelligence obsolete but amplify its potential? I consider that possibility. But more importantly, I will consider how human potential is still vastly underutilized. Technology is a threat only if we seek to shut it out and down. Guardrails are needed—not walls.

Photo Credit: Pharmacy Podcast Network – Special Conversaton on digital health and its impact on patient care

My father-in-law’s expansive knowledge of physiology and psychology —the link between physical and mental health and his desire to sharpen people’s life performance —and John’s exploration into science and creativity and how they illuminate the pathway to heightened performance – are superpowers.  Though Burt has left this world and John is very present, their approaches to unlocking human potential are essential for medical practice to advance.

AI will assist in complex problem-solving, provide insights from extensive datasets, and foster innovative approaches to age-old challenges. However, without the time to explore patient needs and look beyond the obvious, health teams will be pressured to examine the superficial presentation of disease. Why? Because medicine stands on the foundation of science but is realized through human cognitive abilities.

Reflects Nosta:The Cognitive Age is not just a technological revolution; it is an invitation to a deeper, more meaningful engagement with our world and ourselves. The journey calls for a unique and evolving synergy between human creativity and machine intelligence. This partnership promises to redefine our cognitive abilities and expand the horizons of our achievements.”

John Nosta and Gil Bashe exchange ideas about LLMs in a Healthcare NOW Radio show special. John is a third-time guest on Health Unabashed.

Look Beyond the Obvious

Medicine is becoming increasingly specialized, and the cannon on knowledge has increased beyond human capabilities to remember essential data – patient history, published data, clinical guidelines, symptoms, and signs. Imagine a physician being able to listen patiently to the patient’s journey and concerns – we must come to grips with the (depressing) reality that even the most brilliant and caring physicians no longer have the time or bandwidth (or payers’ greenlight) to diagnose complex cases. Innovative technologies must augment their passion and wisdom to heal – they do not replace. Otherwise, those patients will fall between the EMR cracks.

These technologies must now become part of the physician’s black bag, and medical schools and health institutions must welcome Nosta’s “Cognitive Age” into their classrooms and clinics, combined with Burt’s incredible thirst for knowledge and honed clinical skill. Health professional staff must augment their organic intelligence in order to sharpen their clinical and cognitive saws. They must be trained to ask savvy questions and avoid knee-jerk diagnoses that may lead treatment astray. They must embrace the Cognitive Age.

My father-in-law offered some advice for the courageous entering this uncharted territory:

“I like beginnings because if you can see yourself taking a step in the direction of change long before you reach the goal, it helps you understand that you know how to change. With the knowledge that you know how to change, you’ll be encouraged to take another step and another step. Then, eventually, you reach your goal.”

Never fear change. Reinvent yourself.


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Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Health advocate connecting the dots to transform biopharma, digital health and healthcare innovation | Managing Partner, Chair Global Health FINN Partners | MM&M Top 50 Health Influencer | Top 10 Innovation Catalyst. Gil is Medika Life editor-in-chief and an author for the platform’s EcoHealth and Health Opinion and Policy sections. Gil also hosts the HealthcareNOW Radio show Healthunabashed, writes for Health Tech World, and is a member of the BeingWell team on Medium.


Editor in Chief, Medika Life

Meet the Medika Life editor-in-chief, working closely with founding editors Robert Turner and Jeff Livingston, MD.

Not your usual health-industry executive, Gil Bashe has had a unique career shaped by more than three decades in health policy, pharma, life science, digital health, eco-health, environmental innovation and venture capital and informed his determination to ‘give back.’

A champion for health innovation that sustains people’s lives and improves their care, Gil honed his perspectives on both battlefield and boardroom. He started in health as a combat medic in an elite military unit. He went on to serve as a clergyman tending to the ill; as a health products industry lobbyist in environmental affairs; as CEO of one of the world’s largest integrated health marketing companies; as a principal in a private equity-backed venture; as a Medika Life author and Health Tech World correspondent; and as Chair Global Health and Purpose at FINN Partners, a community of purpose dedicated to making a difference.

In the forefront of change, Gil is ranked as a Top 10 Digital Health Influencer; Medical Marketing & Media Top 10 Innovation Catalyst; Medika Life named him a “Top 50 Global Healthcare Influencer,” and PM360 presented him with its “Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award.” He is a board member for digital health companies and is an advisor to the CNS Summit, Galien Foundation, Let’s Win for Pancreatic Cancer, Marfan Foundation and other health-centered organizations.





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