If you hadn’t taken notice of the latest news regarding technology and sociology, then let me give you an update. What seemed so futuristic and beyond the scope of reality in movies like Terminator and Robocop is just one step from the front door. It is hard to get my head around it, and a bit, well, just plain scary.
The Innovation website reported an article on their page recently that was astounding. While sending robots down into mines may have the appeal of genius and making a roboarmy might be classified by some as diabolical, I won’t even mention Atlas, the untippable humanoid still under development. My focus is on mobilizing an army of nurses. This has the touch of, say, serpent or fish scales.
It is also cold. And sterile.
Perhaps that is the point. “The nurse looking after you in your twilight years could be a little different. Say hello to Nursebot, the robotic care assistant that is going to save an ageing population,” Reports Innovation.
Stanford University’s Kseniya Charova replies, “in many technologically advanced societies, people are not only living longer, but are also having fewer children. This trend has led to a disproportionately large growth rate of the elderly population relative to the labour force.”
The population numbers of old-versus-young are getting more and more unbalanced as time passes. I had already heard of the pan-ultimate gerontologic colonialism led by Germany. While some might chuckle at the idea of sending away from their homeland those with dementia or alzheimer’s, and dumping them into the Eastern Block to save dinero, stop and think about it. It is such a modern trend that they have given it a name. Quite a complicated, scientific one, too. It will surely keep most of us at bay.
Discard the weak and unlovely.
Germany is well aware of the insufficient numbers of nurses and health care workers. But it is not the Germans that have come up with the idea of Robocare. While they are refuted as being the best car manufacturers on the planet, some would argue and say that the Asians are their closest competition.
Which Asians in particular?
The Japanese. HStar Technologies, to be exact. If you want to place an order for a RoNA named Pearl, the window is open. Oh. RoNA is a robotic nursing assistant, of course. Pearl is “stable, highly mobile, dexterous, autonomous, bi-manual, a humanoid robotic nursing assistant, equipped with highly dexterous robotic arms of payload up to 10 lbs,” the sales brochure states.
The patient will control the nursebot with a device or tablet.
The first question I ask myself is, why am I a writer? Why did I not invent the tablet or the nursebot? Tablets, roboarmies and robonurses are sure to be a huge money making empire.
The upshot is that robots have accuracy and are already being used in the operating room, as human error is the leading cause of death on the operating table. The obvious next step would be to employ the robots at the hospital bedside. It is safer for a robot to lift a heavy patient than to risk injury to nurses, too.
The negative implications are many, though.
· The initial purchase of nursebots will be highly uneconomical
· Robonurses will put real nurses out of a job
· Mechanical devices break down and have failures
· Robots cannot read a patient or discern or make judgement calls
· If a heavy piece of machinery toppled over, it could be fatal
· Robots cannot provide human touch or human contact
· The size of the nursebot that could lift a man would have to be large
Undoubtedly, with the rise of technology and electronic capabilities, robonurses are the wave of the future. Of course, some will be in favor and some in opposition. I always wonder, though, if human emotion and psyche can keep up with technology. One final question, is Robocare really ethical?
Written by Jori Sams