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Are you not afraid of the robots either?

fred johnsen | Berlingske Business | 8 august 2017

Read the full article in Danish

Fred Johnsen, robotics, AI and automation expert at PA Consulting Group, has written a byline article in which he looks at how new technologies are changing our society in significant ways. Most Danes are not afraid of robots and AI and that’s positive because the technologies are not a threat - they are here to help us. 

But it’s surprising that in a recent survey, more than half of the Danes say they don’t believe robotics and new technologies will bring about major changes, or haven’t given it much thought. That will surely change when most of us gain first-hand experience with new technologies during the coming years, one example being the healthcare sector. 

Today, intelligent computers and robotics already help doctors and medical staff diagnose and treat patients, sometimes faster and better than any human being. For instance, the super computer Watson Health is being used worldwide to help diagnose cancer by processing large amounts of data. Watson has shown much promise by diagnosing patients with rare cancer forms in just 10 minutes, a task that would take a human doctor several weeks. 

Robots are also being employed in healthcare. Like Babylon Health, a chat bot that provides health care advice and help diagnose patients by using a smart phone app and a chat feature and is currently being tested as an alternative to the 111 help line in the UK. Babylon is an example of machine learning allowing computers to recognise rules and patterns. In Denmark the start-up Corti is currently testing speech recognition and machine learning in Copenhagen emergency dispatch centres. 

We are also seeing more examples of how robots are being employed in medical surgery. MIT is currently testing a micro bot shaped as a pill that can be swallowed and used to perform surgery inside the patient.

Many of the technologies are in the experimental phase and still make many errors. But in 5-10 years’ time they´ll be much more reliable helpers in health care, and other areas of society. This doesn´t mean we no longer need humans in healthcare. Robots and AI are supplements and here to assist us where and when we need it, free up resources and present us with new opportunities.

Fred Johnsen is a robotics, AI and automation expert at PA Consulting Group.

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