While many doctors naturally disagree, Dr. Oz believes the future of medicine will depend more on technology than doctors. “I see the car, which is right now one of the most unused spaces in our lives, becoming a mobile examination suite for you,” says the heart surgeon, turned talk show host. “It can weigh you and tell how stressed you are by how you grip the steering wheel, the sweat on your fingers, and heart rate variability.” (1:29 VIDEO, below)
As a technologist watching this space and reporting on health & wellness innovations at CES, I concur with Dr. Oz and have explored the effect of technology, automation and healthcare robots and on jobs. That’s why I was attracted by this CBS 60 Minutes segment on The March of the Machines and how automation is likely to effect the job market, including positions in medicine.
The following related slides are part of a presentation I made to a local job club about keeping your skills relevant during long-term unemployment. They tie automation and the resulting effect on employment to the widening income gap and establish a base for further discussion.
Technology is arguably a great enabler and equalizer, but with innovation advancing exponentially, it’s hard to imagine a scenario that avoids the widening income and wealth gaps. This creates a political dilemma if more people are pushed into poverty and rely on social safety nets, since it could have a devastating effect on healthcare costs. Public health officials quoted in HBO’s documentary, The Weight of the Nation, are now able to accurately estimate average weight and obesity levels by zip code. They’ve also noticed marked differences in average lifespan between low-income and affluent neighborhoods in opposite sides of the same town.
I hope this article will start a conversation on the important role of technology as part of the solution, and part of the problem, prompting ideas to maximize the benefits and minimize the harm.