Sep 26, 2017
from Engadget http://my.onmedic.com/2ypHF4Z
Sep 21, 2017
To hear a wide-ranging interview about the real-world risks we humans could face from a rogue superintelligence, hit play, below. My guest is author and documentary filmmaker James Barrat. Barrat’s 2014 book Our Final Invention was the gateway drug that ushered me into the narcotic realm of contemplating super AI risk. So it’s on first-hand authority that I urge you to jump in – the water’s great!
This is the seventh episode of my podcast series (co-hosted by Tom Merritt), which launched here on Boing Boing last month. The series goes deep into the science, tech, and sociological issues explored in my novel After On – but no familiarity with the novel is necessary to listen to it.
The danger of artificial consciousness has a noble pedigree in science fiction. In most minds, its wellspring is 2001: A Space Odyssey, which features HAL 9000 – an onboard computer that decides to kill off its passengers before they can disconnect it (spoiler: HAL’s rookie season ends – rather abruptly – with a 1-1 record).
James’s interest in this subject was piqued when he interviewed 2001’s author, Arthur C. Clarke, back in the pertinent year of 2001. Clarke’s concerns about superintelligence went beyond the confines of fiction. And he expressed them cogently enough to freak James out to this day.
Among James’s worries is that Hollywood has inoculated many of us from taking super AIs seriously by depicting them so preposterously. “Imagine if the Centers for Disease Control issued a serious warning about vampires,” he notes. “It’d take time for the guffawing to stop, and the wooden stakes to come out. Maybe we’re in that period right now with AI, and only an accident or a near-death experience will jar us awake.”
James and I discuss the “vampire problem” and many other issues in our interview. If you’re looking to cut back on the long, unproductive hours you currently waste on sleep, you should definitely give it a listen.
You can subscribe to the podcast within any podcast app. Simply use your app's search function (type in "After On") to find and subscribe. To subscribe via your computer on iTunes, just click here, then click the blue “View on iTunes” button (on the left side of the page), then click “Subscribe” (in a similar location) in the iTunes window. Or follow the feed http://my.onmedic.com/2wCsqcF
from Boing Boing http://my.onmedic.com/2wK3jQ8
Sep 20, 2017
Healthcare is becoming more decentralized every day thanks to new technologies and a growing emphasis on consumer-focused services, according to presentations at the Patient Engagement and Experience Summit in Boston today. But even as telehealth, wearables, virtual reality, and other technologies disrupt familiar models of health care delivery, a greater shift in culture and policy will be necessary to transform care.
“Innovation really has to be in the DNA of an organization,” Tim Walston, assistant vice president of Interactive Marketing at MedStar Health, said during a session. “Sometimes it’s a challenge because it’s not only at the provider level, but sometimes it’s the management that needs to understand. … It’s all about perseverance, because you’re not going to change everyone overnight.”
New delivery strategies, new mindsets
Walston illustrated the growing shift in health care delivery by pointing to the retail industry: just as malls are being usurped by online sellers, so too is the centralized management of healthcare in large hospitals giving way to a landscape of smaller clinics and telecommunications. The latter, he said, is emblematic of the “disruptive technologies” transforming care that will need to be leveraged by health care systems.
“The current state of digital health is really being impacted by telehealth — we can see that this trend is growing throughout the world [and] we estimate up to 30 million users using telehealth [by 2020],” Walston said. “In southern Maryland, we have saved millions of dollars on our transportation costs not having to medevac stroke patients from southern Maryland to the hospital center, because we now have empowered our physicians to talk to our stroke experts and, in real-time, assess whether the patient needs a helicopter ride to D.C.”
Walston ran down a number of other mobile health technologies that his own system is currently employing — such as telehealth and medical wearables — and many that may exist in pilot programs but could become more prolific over time, including machine learning, augmented or virtual reality-based therapy, receptionist robots, clinical decision crowdsourcing, and automation.
“It’s really [trending] toward force multiplying; doing more with less,” Walston said. “That’s the focus, and also to use technology to meet customers on their terms, … to be sensitive to large trends, to keep our ear to the ground, and to make sure we understand how to use the technology to find solutions that actually accommodate their lifestyle.”
The major challenge for the industry will be embracing these technologies and the reorganizations they herald. Walston said that an organizational culture that is more entrepreneurial and open to experimentation might be best achieved with an injection of new lifeblood into the organization.
"When it comes to some other areas … sometimes you have to bring [those qualities] into your organization based on your hiring strategy. I’ve only been in healthcare now for three years, and I’ve been bringing in folks, some that have healthcare [experience] and some that don’t. They bring in a fresh perspective."
Technologies blurring the lines of care
Juhan Sonin, director of user interface and application design firm Involution Studios and a lecturer at MIT, envisions a more radical future for healthcare — one where devices and household appliances capture health data automatically, and conversations with physicians occur frequently thanks to patients’ smartphones.
“I imagine … my data is going to be captured beautifully, without me being involved, and when I have to do it, the coefficient of friction is very, very low,” Sonin said during a presentation. “[Like Uber], I want this on my phone. I want to talk to a virtual doc, and hopefully over time it just becomes part of my daily activities.”
Sonin called for an intertwining of daily life and healthcare, a shift that he envisions will come from a renewed focus on data collection. By increasing the number of devices passively collecting health data, as well as standardizing health data records across providers, Sonin argued that healthcare may someday be able to blur the lines between treatment and everyday life, all the while providing truly preventative care. Those devices could include smart versions of everyday objects, such as a bathroom sink capable of collecting and scanning discarded hair follicles.
“My hope is that we’re seeing things earlier and earlier in the cycle,” he said. “The little ‘doctor bots’ in my pocket, in my house, in my home, in my bathroom are picking up on goodies and … saying to me ‘Hey, this is going to happen to you in a couple of days, we’re seeing the signs. Go to Walgreens and get your little personalized flu treat.’”
Although these ideas are not the current reality of care, the seeds for such a future are currently available in mobile technologies. Clinical data collection and video conferencing between patients and physicians using everyday devices is becoming more commonplace — although Sonin hopes that the latter will eventually comprise 70 percent of patients’ interactions with primary care physicians. Daily internet connections are available to nearly the entire population, he said, and could become the foundation of patient-owned care and universal primary care.
However, much like Walston, Sonin said that continued advocacy and open-mindedness will be necessary to achieve these goals. Certain roadblocks — such as the availability of telehealth or other technologies to low-income patients — could require changes to policy, and will need persistent, concerted efforts to overcome.
“Culture and policy are the two biggest, hardest things to change,” Sonin said. “It’s easy on the design side, where you can flitter around the periphery of things. It moves really fast — like fashion, it changes all the time. Policy is where it has legs. That, to me, is where you can have the biggest impact, where you can shift financial biases and then thus shift culture biases … but be prepared for it to be a multi-year extravaganza.”
from mobihealthnews http://my.onmedic.com/2wz33sc
Sep 15, 2017
In the classic 1966 American science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, a submarine crew was miniaturized and injected into a body to fix a blood clot in the brain. That’s obviously not how future medical science is going to work, but the notion of creating microscopic machines to perform complex tasks is certainly on point. A recent advance, in which robots made from DNA were programmed to sort and deliver molecules to a specified location, now represents an important step in this futuristic direction.
It’s still early days for nanotech, but new research from the California Institute of Technology is showcasing the tremendous potential of this pint-sized technology. A CalTech research team headed by Anupama Thubagere and Lulu Qian has built robots from DNA, and programmed them to bring individual molecules to a designated location. Eventually, this technology could be used to transport molecules of many types throughout the body—which could potentially transform everything from drug delivery to how the body fights infections to how microscopic measurements are made.
There are currently three emerging fields within DNA nanoscience, the science of creating molecular-sized devices out of DNA: The self-assembly of nanostructures from DNA strands, molecular computation and data storage, and DNA robotics, which is the focus of the study published today in Science. The central premise of DNA nanoscience is that, rather than creating molecular devices or systems from scratch, we can leverage the power of nature, which has already figured much of this out. If and when we finally master molecular machinery, we’ll be able to build microscopic-sized robots with programmable functions and send them to places that are otherwise impossible to reach, such as a cell or a hard-to-reach cancerous tumor.
Futurists have long speculated that nanotechnology — the engineering of materials and devices at…Read more
In prior experiments, DNA robots demonstrated their ability to perform simple tasks, but this latest effort ramped up the level of complexity considerably, while also opening a path towards the development of general-purpose DNA robots.
“It is the first time that DNA robots were programmed to perform a cargo‐sorting task, but more important than the task itself, we showed how this seemingly complex task—and potentially many other tasks—that DNA robots can be programmed to do uses very simple and modular building blocks,” explained Qian in an email to Gizmodo. “This is also the first example showing multiple DNA robots collectively performing the same task.”
For the new study, the researchers designed a group of DNA robots that could collectively perform a predetermined task that had them walk along a test platform, locate a molecular cargo, and deliver it to a specific location. The bots were able to do this autonomously.
Each robot, built from a single-stranded DNA molecule of just 53 nucleotides, was equipped with “legs” for walking and “arms” for picking up objects. The bots measured 20 nanometers tall, and their walking strides measured six nanometers long, where one nanometer is a billionth of a meter. For perspective, a human hair measures about 50,000 to 100,000 nanometers in diameter, so the scale we’re talking about here is ridiculously small.
For the cargo, the researchers used two types of molecules, each a distinct single-stranded piece of DNA. In tests, the researchers placed the cargo onto a random location along the surface of a two-dimensional origami (self-folding) DNA test platform. The walking DNA robots moved in parallel along this surface, hunting for their cargo.
To see if a robot successfully picked up and dropped off the right cargo at the right location, the researchers used two fluorescent dyes to distinguish the molecules. Scientists are not at the stage yet where they can program robots of this size to have built-in memory, so instead, the robots were designed to “match” their cargo.
“We designed specific drop‐off locations for each type of cargo: if the type matches, the drop‐off location will signal the robot to release the cargo; otherwise the robot will continue to walk around and search for another drop‐off location,” explained Qian. “You might think that the robot is not smart. But here is a key principle for building molecular machines: make individual molecules as simple as possible so they could function reliably in a complex biochemical environment, but take advantage of what a collection of molecules can do, where the smarts are distributed into different molecules.”
The researchers estimate that each DNA robot took around 300 steps to complete its task, or roughly ten times more than in previous efforts.
“We successfully programmed complex behavior in DNA robots and compartmentalized each task using DNA origami,” said Thubagere.
In experiments, 80 percent of cargo molecules were sorted, so there’s room for improvement. Qian and Thubagere hypothesize that not all molecules were correctly synthesized, or that some parts of the robot or testing platform were defective. Much more work needs to be done to figure this all out, and to test the DNA robots under different environmental conditions if we’re ever going to have these things working in our bodies. This new study offers a viable methodology for scientists to continue pursuing.
“The biggest implication that I hope the work will have is to inspire more researchers to develop modular, collective, and adaptive DNA robots for a diverse range of tasks, to truly understand the engineering principles for building artificial molecular machines, and make them as easily programmable as macroscopic robots,” said Qian.
from Gizmodo: Top http://my.onmedic.com/2x3guxu
Sep 9, 2017
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
from Slashdot http://my.onmedic.com/2jcCiDy