Sunday, April 24, 2016

 Government Health Reform Robots
The world of the future will be an ever more  demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robotic slaves.
Norbert Wiener (1894-1964), God and Golem (1964)

Government reform robots are a wondrous thing.
Efficiencies to the reform table they will  bring.
These robots require and demand no income.
They usually  produce a predictable outcome.
They are never pregnant, need no sick leave,
They take no breaks, work without relief.
They demand no benefits or pensions.
For robots these things require no mentions.
Robots  can take an instant medical history,
With an algorithm remove the clinical mystery.
They deliver food and drugs to the bedside.
Wherever in the hospital patients reside.
Robots are said to be foolproof
And from human errors aloof.

And yet,  and yet, and yet
About robots in medicine
I ponder
And I wonder
Are robots desirable
Are robots better
Will touching
And Handling
Become obsolete
Will everything be
It is possible
Robots do things
The same way
Every time
Real time
Robots do not deviate
From the straight
And narrow
Robots respond  to algorithms
Robots are checklists of the mind
IBM’s Watson  tell us
Robots are E-lementary
My Dear Watson
Robotic surgery is
And reportedly
More predictable
Less invasive
Produces faster recoveries
Reaches inaccessible places
Reduces hospital infections
Hospital marketers love robots
Specialists love new tech, high tech
The media and the public
Love breakthrough news
But I keep thinking
Humans design robots
And therefore
Robots have
Blind spots
And soft spots
And so I wonder
Will robots ever
Think outside the box
Are robots replacements
Or merely human assistants
Maybe, just maybe, robots
Being ever consistent
And error resistant
Will protect us from human terrors
And stretcher-bearers.
 Maybe robots,
 Being ever consistent and error resistant,
 Will protect us from health care errors
 And human stretcher bearers
But still I have my doubt,
Robots are reform’s best route.

1. “What’s Wrong with the da Vinci Robot?”, Health Leaders Media, January 26, 2012

2. “Robot Cleaners a ‘Game-Changer’ for Hospital Infection Epidemic”, Health Leaders Media, January 27, 2012

No comments: