Will the world of medicine change forever?

By Camilo Echeverri Bernal
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In an age when we rely upon machines for nearly everything, from military missions, to assisting NASA, and medicine, we now understand that it is possible for non-biological intelligences to do things which, until the last century we did not think they would be able to.

A certain trepidation comes with the idea that computers are learning speech-identification patterns and are given the ability to drive cars, control missiles, and are given power over the lives of patients during surgery or even updating their prescriptions. They are advancing from the Industrial Revolution and are becoming semi-aware of themselves. It is said they are developing creative thinking, more than just a systematic analysis of patterns, equations and probability.

The concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was developed in the 1950s. The first computers were rudimentary and solved algebra problems and logarithms. The first robots in the United States were created by the Department of Defense. Salient scientists and mathematicians such as Herbert Simon, Allen Newell, and so forth were the so-called fathers of AI technologies.

First they focused on simple tasks—and now they are used to control more complex areas of life. As they learn, the ability to mimic and even match human intelligence grows.

Since the very beginning of robotics and technological machines, there have been those who oppose the idea of receiving assistance from metal fabricated tools to speed up some processes like the production of cars or weapons, or even clothing, other computers, etc. A well-known group were the Luddites in 1811 who destroyed machinery in England under the command of Ned Ludd.

This ever-present fear of the unknown is characteristically human. These anarcho-primitivists preach the idea that man should live in peace with nature and not seek the assistance of anything artificial. But they are staying behind. In an age when cerebral implants are no longer a fanciful notion and the blind can be aided to see, the visionaries and the foes of progress take a stance concerning the future of our whole species.

Nowadays we are beginning to develop nanobots (also called nanorobots) the size of atoms and soon (in ten or twenty years) they will be large enough to be inoculated into the body to help get rid of cancers and enhance data retention of the brain.

Lately, recent discoveries concerning nanotechnology can aid surgeons perform their task even more effectively than before. “Nanoparticle-assisted surgery already illuminates cancers so that surgeons can completely remove them, or even visually scan the body for metastasis,” adds Louizos Alexander Louizos in his article for H+ Magazine.

In junction with replacing and enhancing bodily functions, nanoparticles may, in the future, replace organ tissues such as arteries and later on, full organ transplants using bioprinting or stemcells.

So, where does the future of microsurgery lie? With robotic arms and nanoparticles working at a cellular level without the need of excessive work or endless hours on the surgery table, will human hands become obsolete? Can we expect for these fields of medicine and other areas of life—such as business and education— fall into the grasp and superior performance of nonbiological intelligence?

Some dread this, whilst others, consider this to be the ideal option. There is only so much we can do to treat illness,disease and genetic errors– for we, ourselves are greatly flawed. Perhaps the age of man is almost over and cybernetic additions are required to insure our survival.