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Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.


The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Automating Everything - Disaster Management and Medical Intervention - Part 8

This oversight method of managing multiple robots can be applied to other services as well. Faced with a major fire1, robotically flown helicopters or planes2 could transport water to be dumped on a blaze3, with the human pilots handling takeoffs4, landings5, choosing the drop locations6 and any in-flight pickups of water scooped off nearby bodies of water7. The time-delay would have to be non-existent, of course, but a whole series of automated planes could go back and forth to take on a rampant wildfire. Similarly on the ground, humanoid robots1 with programming in basic tasks could be insulated against extreme heat2 and set to certain roles (clearing brush3, raking4, holding and pointing hoses5) under the direction of very few overseers6, who would mostly take care of deploying them to an area and task, and changing their orders and intervening in novel situations as necessary. Squads of these robots could be packed into a cargo helicopter7 and deployed rapidly wherever they were needed to supplement existing firefighting teams8.

Other disasters requiring very large numbers of “boots on the ground” could also benefit from having squads or even battalions of these machines available for basic tasks. Remote oversight could be further supplemented by giving key on-site personnel the ability to issue verbal commands. Voice recognition9 or other identifying characteristics (including carrying wireless devices identifying those in authority10) could be used to limit who is able to make commands, and basic programming would limit exactly what orders could be understood and obeyed.
Medical services in remote locations could also be provided by this combination of software and remote human oversight. For example, robots might be able to handle the application of sensors, localized sterilization or anaesthetization and certain other aspects of pre-surgical preparation, while still enabling remote surgeons and nurses to handle more subtle aspects of the work. The chief difference in design from external mechanical or electronic repairs would be a sterile environment with tracks laid down for robotic assistants and locations for humanoid robots to lock themselves in position – a steadying element for any machine holding surgical tools, in addition to the human-supplied direction of their actions. A patient would be guided by either human or robotic assistance1 to a motorized bed capable of guiding and moving itself to surgery2 or a scanner3 (a variant of the basic delivery cart, in the form of a hospital bed). The bed would, if needed, take the patient to the location of the procedure. At that location, robots on tracks4 would move into position (or remain in position), locking themselves into position by dropping short shafts5 into holes6 cut in the floor for added stability. These robots would handle the functions entrusted to them and humans and/or remotely overseen humanoid robots7 would handle the rest.


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