Skip to comments.The Boss Is Robotic, and Rolling Up Behind You(remote-controlled stand-in boss)
Posted on 09/06/2010 3:04:44 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
September 4, 2010
The Boss Is Robotic, and Rolling Up Behind You
By JOHN MARKOFF
SACRAMENTO Dr. Alan Shatzels pager beeped at 9 on a Saturday morning. A man had suffered a stroke, and someone had to decide, quickly, whether to give him an anticlotting drug that could mean the difference between life and death.
Dr. Shatzel, a neurologist, hustled not to the emergency room where the patient lay 260 miles away, in Bakersfield but to a darkened room at a hospital here. He took a seat in front of the latest tools of his trade: computer monitors, a keyboard and a joystick that control his assistant on the scene a robot on wheels.
He guided the roughly five-foot-tall machine, which has a large monitor as its head, into the patients room in Bakersfield. Dr. Shatzels face appeared on screen, and his voice issued from a speaker.
Dr. Shatzel acknowledged the nurse and introduced himself to the patients grandson, explaining that he would question the patient to determine whether he was a candidate for the drug. The robots stereophonic hearing conveyed the answers. Using the hypersensitive camera on the monitor, Dr. Shatzel zoomed in and out and swung the display left and right, much as if he were turning his head to look around the room.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Remember how George Jetson’s telecommunicator brought up pictures of Mr. Spacely, the boss of Spacely Sprockets?
That actually seemed to work pretty nicely. A whole robot sounds like overkill as long as everyone has one of those telecommunicator screens. (A second computer monitor would do.)
This contraption is a reinforcement of the medieval conception of a doctor’s authority to OVERSEE a proceeding. There must be four or five medically competent individuals in attendance just to roll this thing in. It’s sole purpose is the reinforcement of the elevated status of the physician, IMHO. I saw this on TV, and from my point of view as a prospective patient, I’d just as soon go ahead and die as subject myself to this absurd humiliation.
Frightening preview from 1976- THX 1138-The Movie
As long as it was my robot in the cell and not me, I wouldn’t care too much
Yeah, why not just show the doctor’s face on the TV that’s already in the patient room, and discreetly wheel up (or pull out from the wall) a small camera? A whole robot would weird me out and I am no tech ignoramus.
Not that I would mind a cyber-look by the physician, if he could not actually come in and be there in person.
My issue with all this is that technology would eventually replace the doctor with some sort of physical thing that has AI incorporated into it.
In 20 years the few doctors that will be left will be used to help build DocNet.
Doctor O’Connor room 2. Doctor Sarah O’Connor room 2 please.
It sounds like an excellent way to devalue the input of his colleague.
Surgery will be mostly done by remote-controlled robots. We all become joystick warriors.:-)
It was once said that a real expert is someone who has already made the mistakes, and has learned from them.
Medicine is an accumulation of knowledge. No one person can know it all, which is why there are specializations within the field of medicine.
While no “man” can know it all, a machine, can be programmed with it all.
And, a machine can work 24/7, and is relatively cheap.
Do I want to trust my life to a machine? Too late for that decision, it has already been made. A lot of decisions flying a plane are made by a machine. A lot of decision driving (newer) cars are made by machines. I have no idea how many other things in our life are being controlled by machines.
We are living the future, we just sometimes don't recognize it.
Back to topic, I do not have any specific objections to a consulting physician being somewhere else, I in fact can see many benefits of such a service. Think of all the rural areas with little advance medicine in their community and the need to drive many miles to a regional hospital to be seen. A medical clinic staffed by Physician’s assistance or Nurse Practitioners could handle most routine stuff yet have available a consultant for the rare major stuff.
On the whole I see this as a positive trend.
Well, as this encounter is described, it seems redundant and only likely to increase the cost of medical care. I thought it was pretty convincingly demonstrated that advanced technology was the major factor in the cost rise anyway. When needed, bring it on. But lacking the tactile sense, this level of technology in medicine is just a gadget.
Well, at least I have a plan.
I’ll tell them where the rest of the humans are hiding and then beg for mercy from my new robotic overloads.
The DaVinci system makes that possible now (even though at present, the controller is in the operating room)...and it's a substantial improvement.
(it’s a pdf)
Data from the Nationwide Inpatient
Sample show an increase
of more than 60% in the number
of hospital discharges for
prostatectomy (including both robotic
and traditional procedures)
in the United States between
2005 and 2008 (see graph).3 This
increase occurred despite a decrease
in the underlying incidence
of prostate cancer 4 and contemporaneously
with a striking
increase in the number of robotassisted
in the United States. The
observed pattern matches evidence
from the Surveillance, Epidemiology,
and End Results Medicare
database, which shows that
Medicare beneficiaries (65 years
of age or older) who received a
diagnosis of prostate cancer in
2005 were about 14% more likely
to have undergone surgery by
2007 than were their counterparts
whose prostate cancer was
diagnosed 3 years earlier.5 These
patterns suggest that robotic technology
may have contributed to
the substitution of surgical for
nonsurgical treatments for this
disease. In this case, the introduction
of the robotic technology
may have increased both the
cost per surgical procedure and
the volume of cases treated surgically.
However, the evidence
suggests that despite the shortterm
benefits, robotic technology
may not have improved patient
outcomes or quality of life
in the long run.
I'm not surprised that the Japanese are in the lead on this, but I will state that my own microelectronics/micromechanics R&D lab here in the US made extensive use of precision micromanipulators well over a decade ago...
As a "tour de force", I often scribed my own signature and the date on the surface of a 3 mil (.003") "bonding pad" on an IC -- with lots of room to spare... OTOH, I worked using a standard stereomicroscope; having that 3-D video system (with image-enhancement capability) would be a big improvement...
The addition of stabilization systems and tremor-removal filters plus variable-ratio : geared-down motion control would go a long way toward compensating for the loss of tactile feedback.
With the prevalence of hospital-spread MRSA staph infections lately, I would prefer the use of super-sterilizable end-effectors over the (poorly-filtered) breath of a surgeon with his nose right over my surgery site any day!
Remote surgery? IMHO, go for it!!
Plus the fact that its minimally invasive and provides the surgeon vision which is 3D and HD (and though the film didn't mention it, I am sure the visual is magnification adjustable) is a huge positive IMO.