Can somebody page the Robot?

Computer engineers believe their robot assistants can be of service in an emergency room near you!  A few weeks ago, Vanderbilt University posted an article on their Facebook page about how their trauma unit might be ready to accept this new technology.  The new “TriageBot” was invented to provide a kind of relief for the often busy and chaotic atmosphere of the unit for both patients and employees.   Those who do not come through the doors of the emergency room with an immediate or life threatening condition can be serviced by this handy new robot, cutting down on time. The robot can check your blood pressure and pulse-making sure you are indeed alive at the time of entry.  It can ask questions about age and height, or any other protocol type information that needs to be gathered from an incoming patient.    TriageBot may also become mobile and be given the responsibility to check in on patients, checking for consciousness and asking patients to gauge pain levels.  The bot will be programmed to report potential problems to the emergency room staff. Of course, the machines will not be left on their own- they will have a human supervisor.  Still, will patients have the same sort of trust for these time-saving machines that they would for a human?

People often enter trauma units in a state of chaos.  An unforeseen event has taken away a person’s health, making them fragile and in need of a professional.  Whether someone has a baby that will not stop coughing, or has been mangled in a car accident, human attention is deserved.  How will the trauma unit make the decision of who is worthy of a human and who is not?  Kazuhiko Kawamura, a professor of engineering and computer science who was quoted in the article admits that the robot’s success will be determined by the patient’s reaction.  I wonder if he would be surprised to find that patients might not warm up to the idea of having a robot asking them questions about how they feel.

ROBOT: What is your pain level on a scale of 1-10?

PATIENT: I’ve hit my head.  I feel like I have a migraine and I don’t understand why I can’t see straight.  This is the worst head pain I’ve ever had.

ROBOT: What is your pain level on a scale of 1-10?

How is a robot to understand pain, tears, or urgency?  How are patients to understand and be comfortable with the care they are getting if they are speaking with a machine? A hospital employee might begin by asking a patient to explain their pain level using numbers, but then be able to better understand the situation based on how the patient responds- maybe even taking knowledge of how to help from a previous experience.

Kawamura also seems to be under the impression that the emergency room is the “perfect way to test” a new type of cognitive architecture within the machines- attempting to develop a working memory for better and faster robot decision-making.  Perhaps computer engineers should spend more time with the patients and employees to understand what sort of space these robots would be entering.  Maybe they would find that the emergency room is no place to be testing anything.  People are rushed through these doors in need of help, not a quick fix.   Will the robots offer a warm touch to the man with the confusing head wound?  Would it be able to understand a mother desperately trying to explain that something is wrong with her baby…something she might know instinctively? 

There is a lot of potential for computer technology in the world of medicine, but we need to express caution in how we use it.  A robot used to check a patient in might save on time, but also might disregard the very fragile state this person is experiencing.  Overall, the field of medicine needs to keep asking: What kind of healers are we becoming?

Hey Babe

I cannot be certain about whether my existence is artificial.   I am aware that for years my parents had sought help from various doctors while trying to conceive.  Either none of it worked and I am 100% all natural, or it just took a little time to kick in.  I like to consider myself a miracle baby.

Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) has a booming market.  And why not?  Now that women are more “liberated” and out in the work field the possibility of having a child might not occur until late thirties, mid forties.   I feel like there should have been a memo explaining  that drying up would be the consequence of trying to keep up in a man’s world.   Science, in its typical god-like fashion, has a solution.  It can create babies.  Even though we always claim that one could never put a price on life, a pretty penny will be spent trying to bring a child into the world.  Approximately $60,000 will get one fertilized embryo placed in position for expected growth.   No guaranteed success, and the price goes up each time.  The next cocktail will put you back over $100,000.  Over the age of 40 there is only about a 9% chance that this procedure will work.  Geneticists also want in on the action.  Before an embryo is chosen for insertion geneticists are now able to tell you the sex and which one is the healthiest-even going as far as giving the parents the actual percentage of a possible disability (such as spina bifida).  Selection.  How would a couple interested in the procedure go about making such a choice?  And what gives them the right?

An interesting side story: I recently encountered ART serving as the actual branch between life and death when the parents of a brain-dead male patient wanted to extract sperm from their son so that they could impregnate his girlfriend.  The parents of this young man happened to be wealthy horse breeders from Kentucky.

The Twitter Account that Radicalizes Music Journalism

is Discographies.

The mysterious man/woman/shemale behind the ever-clever twitter account tweets the “definitive guide to an artist’s body of work (studio albums only) in 140 characters or less.”

http://about.me/discographies

Some of my favorites:

  • Kings Of Leon: 1-2 “fierce energy” = loud and dull; 3-5 “greater artistic maturity” = each generation gets the Goo Goo Dolls it deserves.
  • Interpol: 1 Find an old photo of Joy Division. 2 Xerox the photo. 3 Draw the Xerox. 4 Stare at the drawing: you’ll never get Closer.
  • Weezer: 1 “Remember that nerdy guy from high school?” 2 “The one who couldn’t talk to girls?” 3-7 “Why are you still hanging out with him?”

 

Enjoy.

 

 

Relaxation Brownies

As voters in California prepare to vote on Prop 19 this Tuesday, lovers/entrepreneurs of ganja elsewhere than the West Coast are approaching legalization a little differently. Terry Harris, of Cordova, TN, has just filed a registered trademark for the World’s First Relaxation Brownies.

Being a Tennessee resident myself, I first saw these brownies in a liquor store/head shop mash-up (we do things all at once down here). I’m not sure how far they’ve made it outside of TN, but in Nashville they cost $2.99 each and were just thrown about with other drug-related paraphernalia.

Here is how they were advertised:

You can visit bakedworld.com for more information. There are even opportunities to become a “distributor.” I wasn’t able to find an ingredient list, but expect a documented experiment to surface here soon.

Cool Vid: A Party Trick

Spiritueux