JOHANNESBERG - There is a peculiar scenario that has always replayed in my head, a relay of thoughts that concern me when I find myself on a hospital bed. What if the doctor is sick too? What if he makes a mistake? And the nurses, are they in a good mood?
An unfortunate part of my reality is that I have been in and out of medical institutions my entire life, between my multiple sports injuries, father’s illness and my brief attempt to study medicine. So, my lens into the medical industry is quite focused and thus always on the lookout for the next best invention.
I am certain the very reason most of us go through this private enquiry of thoughts each time we visit a health facility is because of at least one negative encounter or the fear of one. At the back of our minds there is an alternate possibility of a machine replacing our medical practitioners. What if we could get faster treatment; if healthcare was more affordable; if clinicians got better rest and working hours, and if the industry demand fulfilled? What if robotics in medicine, is the answer?
A Futuristic Dream
As both a technologist and idealist, my perception of an alternative clinician was influenced by science fiction toons, comics and movies. For example, The Jetsons; an US animated sitcom depicting the futuristic life of a modern family with elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions. The Jetsons were cared for by their robot, Rosie. Rosie’s role was all-encompassing between the maid, nanny and doctor, the ultimate care giver.
Watching the Jetsons with my siblings in Africa, this US sitcom appeared to be an accepted futuristic reality. This initial introduction to the future influenced many into thinking the role of a robot was to automatically serve a master’s needs with and without instruction, to be intelligent. In oneThe content herein is subject to copyright by The Yuan. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. The copying or storing of any content for anything other than personal use is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from The Yuan, or the copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in the content.