Emerging technologies within the field of robotics are already being implemented in different sectors of our daily life. The general requirement is not that these robots perform perfectly, but just better than humans. Whether the discussion is about the much anticipated driverless car or about fully automated industrial production, the underlying fact is that this technology has the enormous potential to improve our future endeavors. Our medical system is no exception.
Taking recent developments into account, it seems that our own imagination is the only limit when it comes to the possibilities of making medical practice more efficient and centralized.
Hospitals of the future might operate in a manner resembling the factory floor, by limiting the scope of services they provide and focusing instead on a more narrow range of procedures. In these hospitals the human medical staff would be closely assisted by robots and artificial intelligence devices, under the supervision of trained technicians. These developments can be implemented within the complete range of services offered by hospitals, from diagnosis to rehabilitation, from mobility between the different stages of treatment to administrative aspects.
These possibilities help to create a very different image of medical care compared to today's hospitals, but the public opinion seems to be overall concerned and skeptical about the changes that robotic technology might bring to the medical table. The general issues include matters of safety, unemployment and legal liability as a result of relying on robots to improve our healthcare system. Even though there are serious ethical implications to these potential developments, the question is also about using all the help we can get in order to make medical care accessible to all individuals. With safety as a major concern regarding medical practice, this type of innovation is moving at a very slow and cautious pace.
So let's try to envision a scenario of choice: when faced with a matter of life and death, would you trust a machine over the human medical staff with your treatment?