Friday, October 30, 2015

Of Robots And Men: In The Future Who Will Know The Difference?

                The head of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Tom Insel, is leaving that post to go to work for Google’s Life Sciences division. He will be tasked with investigating how technology can help diagnose and treat mental health conditions.
                That doesn’t sound like a bad thing, does it? It would seem a rather noble and needed pursuit, correct?
                Google proposes to accomplish this feat with ‘wearable’ technologies. This may involve sensors, bio-metrics, and constant monitoring of everything one does. One’s recent shopping and web browsing history will likely be used to help identify the first signs of mental illness. Advanced mobile phones probably will be ‘observing’ our mental health, essentially reading our minds, and then ‘fixing’ them as ‘necessary.’
                 No subjectivity here! Who provides the input, markers and parameters that tell the ‘technology’ what behaviors constitute ‘mental illness?’ Will your wearable technology essentially say to itself, “He’s accessing the ‘Drudge Report,’ I better turn him in!?” Or perhaps, “ Holy crap, now he’s ordering a Barbara Streisand c.d.!  Preparing for the wireless lobotomy!”
                We may become fully ‘robotized’ before robots do. That is scary.

                ‘Robotomy,’ anyone?

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