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Conferencing News Blog

Kill the Robot

Question: What's going on when you see a picture of a gorgeous woman doctor, a caring male nurse, insured and happy minorities, and the politically correct kicker - a toy truck that belongs to a girl?

Answer: Someone is selling something to the media!

The recent edition of Elliot Gold's TeleSpan fails attempts to bring us the wonderful future of being bedridden in a hospital and tended to by robots. That's right, effing robots. He writes, "The units roll around hospitals, checking in on patients" at their bedsides. An assistant to a Creator at the robot's Maker, InTouch Health, says "a physician can now project his/herself to another location to move, see, hear, and interact as though they were actually there." The robot is equipped, evidently, with "collision avoidance sensors" positioned around the Robot's waist to help the "physician driver" to "detect" when the robot is nearing an "object." ..."Object" is the operative word here, folks. Patients - we - are being objectified!

If we're bedridden in the hospital, we'd rather have Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie the woman from the Superbowl ad Giselle Bundchen a retired used-car salesman tend to our well being instead of a freakin' robot. We don't mind the sound of a Roomba clinking into the bedpan below us, but to see Dr. Smith's nemesis wobbling in to check up on us, you can count on us to take the little paper cup of neglected red jello from the hospital cafeteria and smear it on the plasma video display of the so-called robot. Don't get us wrong, we're all for efficiency in health care, but a doctor appearing as a robot is bad form, from many perspectives in design. Add telepresense technologies to a hospital room, not through goofy robots operated by "physician drivers."

At $643 per month for each of us here at CN for health insurance, high touch conferencing capability in the form of a robot will not provide high touch health care. Kill the Robot.