From the surgery robot in the operating theatre to the care robot that looks after you at home, robots are beginning to make their way into healthcare across the globe, and their potential to cut costs and improve results for patients means that soon they could be as much a part of hospital practice as bedpans and blood pressure cuffs.Surgeons are one of the first medical specialties to welcome their robot overlords: in the NHS, surgical robots can already be found assisting with a range of operations, including urology, colorectal, and prostate procedures. These robots -- which are made up of a set of arms wielding cameras, lights and medical instruments -- are controlled by a surgeon sitting at a console who is then able to control the actions of the robot's arms with great precision.Using robots means surgeons can make smaller incisions, reducing blood loss and pain for patients, which can mean a faster recovery time and a shorter stay in hospital. That's good news for the patients, … [Read more...] about Robots and the NHS: How automation will change surgery and patient care
How robots will affect future generations
If predictions are right, automation will transform work as we know it. But it's difficult to know exactly which – and how many – jobs will be affected. Although there is a huge debate over just these questions, one area frequently overlooked is how automation will affect the prospect of gender equality.Right now, there are considerable differences in pay, employment levels, and the types of activities that men and women perform in the workplace. As women are often expected to take more responsibility for care at home, there are fewer job opportunities. This is because the current job market lacks the flexibility needed by women who are expected to juggle caring and working responsibilities. These biases will lead to a future of work that remains unequal. Where bias goes in, bias comes out.But this doesn't have to be the case. Male and female roles and identities are constructed – not fixed – and so the future distribution of work is not fixed either. If jobs … [Read more...] about Robots to the rescue: How automation can create a more equal society
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has a vision: He wants to get humans to Mars as soon as possible. He already wowed the world this year, when the Falcon Heavy launched and flung a Tesla car toward the asteroid belt. And this heavy-lift rocket will be dwarfed by the boosters Musk plans for Mars exploration, which he says will carry colonists in fleets of ships to the Red Planet. While getting to Mars is an end in itself, there's another compelling reason to go. Science fiction is full of dystopian futures for Earth if humanity remains limited to this planet. There are the asteroid strikes of the "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" films, the robot wars of the "Battlestar Galactica" TV series and "Terminator" film franchise, the medical problems and overpopulation in the "Children of Men" and "Elysium" movies, and many other disasters natural and artificial. Dark futures and colonizing other planets will be covered in "AMC Visionaries: James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction," which runs its fourth … [Read more...] about Dark Futures: Does Humanity Really Need a Backup Earth?
Today, the Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored Independent Task Force released The Work Ahead, a report on the American workforce in the 21st century. It does not make for comforting reading. The Work Ahead portrays a country where automation and other technological advances have rendered the economy unrecognizable—employment is no longer linked to economic security, the labor market is brutally divided between a prosperous tech-savvy elite and the struggling tech-illiterate, and the educational system is ill-equipped to prepare workers to succeed. And yet The Work Ahead does not blame technology per se, but a government and society that have consistently failed to adjust to economic reality—leaving workers to navigate a rapidly changing world without sufficient support or guidance. It doesn’t have to be this way. As the report points out, the US has traditionally led the world in its efforts to educate and employ its citizens—whether that’s universal … [Read more...] about Ex-Commerce Secretary Pritzker on Saving the Future of Jobs
It was 1968. I was 8 years old. The space race was in full swing. For the first time, a space probe had recently landed on another planet (Venus). And I was eagerly studying everything I could to do with space. Then on April 2, 1968 (May 15 in the UK), the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey was released—and I was keen to see it. So in the early summer of 1968 there I was, the first time I’d ever been in an actual cinema (yes, it was called that in the UK). I’d been dropped off for a matinee, and was pretty much the only person in the theater. And to this day, I remember sitting in a plush seat and eagerly waiting for the curtain to go up, and the movie to begin. It started with an impressive extraterrestrial sunrise. But then what was going on? Those weren’t space scenes. Those were landscapes, and animals. I was confused, and frankly a little bored. But just when I was getting concerned, there was a bone thrown in the air that morphed into a spacecraft, and pretty … [Read more...] about Predicted The Future—50 Years Ago