Can robots look after hospital patients if they don't have a soul?

Today robots are used in a wide variety of fields. We have previously found out that robotic dogs from Boston Dynamics are capable of performing the work of loaders . In April 2020, robots like them have proven useful in the medical field. When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, many attending physicians began contracting the disease from their patients. To stop this, one of the hospitals in the American state of Massachusetts installed tablets on Spot Mini robots through which doctors could talk with patients at a distance, via video link. Numerous studies have shown that communication between medical personnel and patients helps to overcome diseases faster, and this is readily believed. Robots protect doctors from infection, help support people, and are able to measure body temperature and other health indicators, thereby saving a lot of time. But can they fully care for patients without having a "human soul"?

Pictured is the Moxi robot developed by Diligent Robotics, which performs the work of nurses.

Под роботами-грузчиками я имею в виду Handle от Boston Dynamics . Он оснащен двумя колесами и рукой-присоской, при помощи которой может поднимать предметы и перетаскивать их с места на место. Посмотреть на их работу можно в этом видео.

Medical assistance from robots

This question was recently asked by The Next Web . According to them, at the moment there is already a lot of scientific evidence that sociable doctors help patients to cope more easily with pain and get by with fewer painkillers, as well as recover faster from surgery. But we are not talking about mechanically spoken phrases like "take this pill, it will definitely help you." Robots clearly cannot support patients as well as living doctors with experience and good reviews. Everything is much more complicated than one might think.

Boston Dynamics robot with video calling function

Trust between humans and robots

Researchers believe that robots with installed tablets are not enough to create trust between doctors and patients. And all because the “talking head” of a medical worker cannot supplement communication with another person using body language. But gestures, pauses between words, facial expressions and other little things greatly affect the impression of a person. Robots are not yet capable of transmitting human facial expressions well and even if they could, the phenomenon of the "sinister valley" has not disappeared anywhere. Even speaking with the most advanced, most human-like robots, some patients will not be able to fully trust them.

О помощи роботов в борьбе с коронавирусом рассказывал мой коллега Артем Сутягин. Он выдвинул весьма интересные предположения, советую почитать.

Is it ethical to use soulless robots in hospitals? After all, the lack of personal contact with doctors can be perceived by some people as disrespect. Perhaps they went to the hospital for human help, and the staff serves them with the help of robots. However, this problem can be solved by combining care from robots with support from real health workers. For example, consultations will be carried out directly by the attending physicians, and health monitoring will be entrusted to robots.

In 2017, the Xiao Yi robot received a license to conduct medical practice

Это тоже интересно: 10 случаев с роботами, убившими людей

Robots doctors

And it is not at all necessary that robots look like humans . They can even be simple devices that change body temperature at regular intervals. No matter what scientists say, there are benefits from robots in medicine, and it is especially noticeable in modern times. Hospitals in many countries are still full of people and the medical staff do not physically have time to keep track of each patient. And the robots turned out to be excellent work colleagues and took on tasks that are not so difficult to complete, but take a decent amount of time.

Читайте также: Создан робот-хирург, способный сшивать кровеносные сосуды

The coronavirus pandemic has forced doctors to use robots and other new technologies more actively. In order to have less contact with each other on a physical level, people began to actively use video communication. Devices for disinfecting people have appeared in public places in some countries. And even in small towns, at the entrance to shopping centers and other places with a large crowd of people, the pressure of visitors is measured using a remote device. Yes, the pandemic has brought us closer to the world of cyberpunk in just a few months.

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How else robots began to be used during a pandemic, I talked about in this material . In short, they came in handy in factories and began to control production processes. If someone makes a mistake in assembling a certain part, the robots start to sound the alarm. This is a rather interesting phenomenon in the modern world, so I recommend reading this short article right now.

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