In October I hung out like a brussels sprout with Dr Fiona Kerr, an organisational and neural complexity specialist (I know right?) with one of those minds that leave you wondering where you were when brains were handed out. In the nature of random, we got into a philosophical discussion about robonurses, and the ethics of having a robot take care of the more mundane aspects of nursing. Kind of like Siri dispensing your morphine or doing your bedpan and wiping your bottom afterwards. How would it feel?
Go on, what picture is in your mind right now?
From Fiona’s perspective, robonursing borders on inhumane; surely the last thing you’d want and need if you were sick would be for a robot to be your warm, friendly face in the morning dawn. Human brains need human contact and human engagement to be ‘happy’ she argues, the neuroscience of empathy and touch are essential to patient recovery and wellbeing.
It seems however, the ethics of human touch could have a few issues when they collide with the lure of profit, as retirement homes are rumoured to be the first to go robo. Stand by for your dementia days to be managed by Son of Siri. Bloody hell, we’d all better be nice to our kids over Christmas hadn’t we?
In a similar vein, what about Artificial Intelligence or AI as it’s known; what a brain-bending concept. Imagine having a computer, a robonurse perhaps, who learns and reiterates as it experiences, like we humans do. Well, sometimes we learn except when we don’t and keep making the same monumental god awful stuff-ups. We’ve all done it, right?
In the end could AI destroy us as the machines start to figure out they needn’t have a mere mortal delving into their entrails to control them?
A few months ago I also worked with an awesome young human genius called Dr Jordan Nguyen and started to make the quantum leap of thought in regards to AI.
Jordan invented the world’s first thought controlled wheelchair, you know by capturing brainwaves and translating them into code, as you do. Again, where was I when brains like that were handed out?
Below is what Jordan had to say on Artificial Intelligence recently. Give it a whirl. If nothing else it will make you look brilliant and thoughtful at Christmas parties. You heard it here first, you’re welcome.