Monday, December 07, 2009

ROBOTS TO THE RESCUE

Health care can be improved and advanced in the country -- not by making sure everyone has access to it -- but through robots!

That's the finding in a recent essay by the funnywomen and funnymen at the Heritage Foundation, the right-wing GOP think tank also leading the battle against electromagnetic pulse doom.

Heritage gathers various splendid ideas -- that healthcare reform must be defeated, that the welfare class is getting too much in entitlements and undeserved stuff, that the rich are being taxed too much, that the pesty and pernicious gays are assaulting the precious institution of marriage, that global warming, while no longer a cruel hoax, if dealt with will result in diminished US business, poorness for the wealthy and a much weakened military, that poor people who aren't white are unjustly sopping up national treasure that could be spent on missile defense, a project which spreads freedom around the world, that the auto-industry bailout and cash-for-clunkers took money away from freedom-ensuring missile defense, etc -- and employs its stable of bought-and-paid-for experts to craft pieces which exhort readers on the excellence of such beliefs.

However, today's piece of note, brightly entitled "Robotics and the Next Step for National Security," perhaps as a happy side-effect, devotes space to solving the healthcare crisis and just about any other thing that might beset Americans -- like missile attacks and tsunamis.

"After an earthquake, missile attack, or tsunami, robot-assisted rescue may be America's most effective course of action," it reads here.

"Snakebot can quickly locate [earthquake] trapped victims, sending images of them to rescuers in real time without unnecessarily putting responders at risk."

Hmmm, guess the authors forgot about the big part where emergency workers have to go into the rubble to get the trapped out after 'Snakebot' -- or cheaper search dogs -- have found the unfortunate, anyway. But it's unfair to condemn an entire thing for just one slip-up in thought.

Indeed, the best ideas are reserved for revolutions in health care.

"Beyond making surgery safer and more accurate, robots are increasing the number of people with access to top medical care," reports Heritage.

"If, for instance, the world's best clubbed-foot specialist lived in Dallas, the number of people in the Dallas-area born with clubbed feet every year could not keep that doctor busy full-time because the birth defect is quite rare (1 in 1,000 live births). With remote surgery, a doctor could theoretically serve as the clubbed-foot specialist for the entire South, becoming a 'super-specialist' for clubbed-foot surgery."

Good news, lads! Good news! Now success in health care careers is guaranteed for club foot curing surgeons.

"Moreover, in the event of a bio-terrorist attack or an epidemic, immune robotic medical personnel may be the best solution to contain and cure infected individuals," adds Heritage.

"The country's safety depends on [robotic development]."




Krugman on Heritage. Also see Pentagon Should Battle Pirates with Lasers here.

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