Always Replacing Us

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This just in from CNN:

The new machine that could one day replace anesthesiologists sat quietly next to a hospital gurney occupied by Nancy Youssef-Ringle. She was nervous. In a few minutes, a machine — not a doctor — would sedate the 59-year-old for a colon cancer screening called a colonoscopy

But she had done her research. She had even asked a family friend, an anesthesiologist, what he thought of the device. He was blunt: “That’s going to replace me.”

One day, maybe. For now, the Sedasys anesthesiology machine is only getting started, the leading lip of an automation wave that could transform hospitals just as technology changed automobile factories. But this machine doesn’t seek to replace only hospital shift workers. It’s targeting one of the best-paid medical specialties, making it all the more intriguing — or alarming, depending on your point of view.

Today, just four U.S. hospitals are using the machines, including here at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. Device maker Johnson & Johnson only recently deployed the first-of-its-kind machine despite winning U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2013. The rollout has been deliberately cautious for a device that hints at the future of health care, when machines take on tasks once assumed beyond their reach.

They are always trying to get rid of us.  The problem is that being a doctor is more than computer algorithms.  There is intuition and non linear thinking.  There is an art to medicine.  Machines can never do that and will never do that (at least in my lifetime).  Until Skynet takes over and Terminators rule the land I think we are safe.  Why is it that they never look to automate administrators?  All they have to do is have the machines keep saying things like:

  • “I hear you”
  • “It’s not in the budget”
  • “You have to meet your quality metrics”
  • “Let’s engage some more”

Sure we will ignore the Adminibots but we ignore them now anyway!

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