It has been known for quite some time that robots will eventually start taking jobs away from human beings. In fact, there have already been instances of robots replacing humans in menial jobs.
However, the thought of a robot replacing a human in life and death situations is still almost unthinkable, owing to the cold and calculating nature that we associate with these machines.
But, no matter how unprepared we are for this reality, a new development from MIT has forced us to start thinking of this concept as an eventuality.
What we are talking about is a new robot, which is being developed specifically to replace nurses, who are incharge of delivering babies and assigning duties in the labor wards.
This sort of experimentation can test the faith of even the most hardcore technology fans, as the thought of a robot being near our women and unborn babies is a hard thing to picture.
However, we must understand that this robot will not be delivering your baby per se. Rather it will be working as a resource nurse.
What this means is that the robot will be in charge of assigning other nurses to care for patients, as well as making real time decisions about which course of treatment is best for which patient.
Since such a job takes an extreme level of knowledge, understanding and decision making prowess, the researchers wanted to make sure that the robot is equipped with the best learning algorithms.
To make these algorithms fruitful, the researchers placed the robot in real life conditions where it could learn from actual nurses, by seeing how they make their scheduling and assignment decisions.
This information was then processed to figure out why those decisions were made and what the consequences of said decisions were in relation to the patient condition.
Once this process was completed, the robot was then tested in the real-time environment of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, USA.
During this test the robot was put in the place of a real resource nurse, in order to see what kind of decisions it would make.
The results of the experiment were quite admirable, as the robot made similar suggestions to what real doctors and nurses would make, 90% of the time.
This experiment, however doesn’t mean that we will start seeing fully automated hospitals anytime soon. But what it does indicate is that we should get ready for a new direction in healthcare.