Debbie Ryan was nervous for the first time in 5 years. She was seeing her Doctor. She knew who he was. After all she had many video chats with Dr. Sacks. He was quite good looking, very charming and quite funny. For a Robot that is. She had no complaints.
“ Good morning Debbie, it is nice to see you in person finally “ Dr. Sacks said.
“ Good morning Doctor Sacks “ she replied with a warm smile.
Despite it being a Robot, Debbie felt no discomfort. It seemed like the most natural thing in the World. You could hardly tell it was Robot. Maybe it was the handsome looks. It was more than that. Dr. Sacks had a wicked sense of humor. She knew it was programmed to her personality type. It knew everything about her.
“ You look lovely. I must say I love that necklace. Is that new? “ Dr. Sacks asked.
“ Yes I got it in Japan last year as a birthday present for myself “ she replied with a smile.
“ It really does suit your skin tone “
“ Doesn’t it?! “ she beamed clutching her necklace.
Uncanny. So much more charming than her previous human Doctor. The incompetent disheveled Dr. Magnarsson who was finally disbarred for too many medical mistakes. What an escape she had. She had almost died from a wrong medication. He had insisted she had Hyperthyroidism when she had hyperthyroidism. The diabetes had only got worse. Now under Moogle it had disappeared and they eliminated the hyperthyroidisms with a new electronic surgical procedure. She shuddered to think what he would have done to her if she had gotten cancer or a brain tumor.
Affordable Health Care
It had been nearly 50 years since she had signed up with Moogle, the medical division of Alphabet, which also owned Google. It was an offer she could hardly have refused. For $100 per month she got total medication coverage. Every MRI, blood test, x-day and Multi scan was covered. She had no co-payments or wait times. The only catch was that Moogle owned her medical rights. That was part of the deal. They monitored her day and night via an embedded microchip on her back, linked via a high speed internet connection. If she wanted to talk to her Doctor all she had to do was open the Moogle App on her phone and Dr. Sacks would be there instantly. Still sometimes she wondered if giving all her medical records posed any risks. These days employers required health records before they hired you. If you had a drug problem or a weak heart you were out of luck. On the other hand, more people were in better health. She hardly saw anyone with a weight issue or diabetes anymore, which was quite an astounding transformation.
Digital Health Records
She remembered the days when her Doctor had all her medical records with undecipherable writing that could lead to the wrong prescriptions. Lack of medical records had nearly killed her during a bladder infection while travelling in France. They didn’t know she was allergic of Amoxicillin. Today her medical records were completely digital, embedded in the microchip implanted on the back of her neck, accessed via a chip reader, her phone or health watch. No more being held hostage by Doctors who guarded your medical records as part of their business model, delaying the transfer of your records under the pretext of privacy laws.
The only big expense was the $5000 multi tester and the $3000 medical toilet which she had to buy as part of the package. The titanium multi tester was quite an impressive machine, small, light and portable. It tested her blood, did DNA analysis, bone marrow scanning, bone density measurements and so much more. The medical toilet analyzed her stool and urine daily. Her phone was also more than just an app host. The face unlocking feature would also store images of her face to identify any possible disease from little black spots to wrinkles and suggest remedies. She used to be frightened of it and then annoyed at the suggestion to cut down on the sugar after a pimple or apply sunscreen before gong out in the sun. Sigh. Guess that is a price I have to pay to live a healthy life. Still she wondered, what would happen when I get older and mortality beckons. Will the phone scream it’s head off that I am dying and leading me into a state of depression?
And then there was the Health watch which also tested her blood sugar levels, heart rate, BMI, bone density, water weight, sleep patterns and about 20 other parameters. The watch was a pretty cool thing. She noticed her health behavior had changed dramatically with the watch. How well she slept was very useful. If she didn’t sleep well, she knew she had to exercise more and adjust her diet of Potassium and Magnesium. Because of the accelerometer, gyroscope and pulse sensor, the watch would know if she had a fall and immediately call emergency personnel. That was one of her fears. Having a fall and bleeding to death.
Her phone kept a track of almost every item of food she bought. All the information was uploaded to Moogle in real time. Couldn’t cheat and pay cash for a cake since cash was not accepted at most places these days. The annoying thing were the red alerts if she had misbehaved and eaten sugar or had a bit too much to drink at a party. Sometimes she just wanted to stop everything and just pig out. But it was not realistic. They would cut her off.
Data Analysis, evaluation and diagnosis
In one sense she felt sorry for the Doctors. She hardly ever saw a real human Doctor. Radiology work these days was done with special AI robots who could analyze and diagnose with 99.9% accuracy. Even surgery was done almost exclusively by Robots with a precision levels far exceeding any human Doctor. Even psychiatrists were being replaced with AI robots. After the success of Google Alpha Go they had started using AI robots to address the trauma of patients returning from war. Her nephew had gone to one and fully recovered. Strangely there were more nurses at the hospitals and heir roles had changed. They were doing most of the diagnosis with robotic assistance, helping with robotic surgery and providing the human touch. Despite medical advances in medicine people were still getting shot, having accidents and suffering from sports injuries.
She was also getting a lot of exercise. Previously she had hated exercise, but with the virtual reality headset she had learned to dance. The Argentine Tango, the shuffle dance, West coast swing and complex games that had her manipulating every part of her body. Often she would invite her friends for a virtual reality session but there were many other people on the system, some of them Robots. The Robots in the system were so life like it was virtually impossible to tell them from humans. They had emotions, a sense of humor, could talk intelligently and could carry on a conversation. They did say singularity would come and we would have a hard time distinguishing humans from robots.. But she could still tell they were robots, by one simple fact. They never lost their temper, didn’t have prejudices or discriminate and never made mistakes. With humans, even with the best of them, there would be some off hand remark that could rub you up the wrong way. The robots didn’t do that but that too was changing. Some of the Robots were developing strong opinions, showing anger when she was not following some of the health rules and would make unflattering comments if her weight started creeping up. Apparently human’s need that confrontational approach to keep them motivated so the Robots were learning to behave like humans but using advanced psychology to channel you in the right direction with just the right amount of social pressure. What a crazy World.
It really was quite strange. At first she thought she would get lots of free medicine as she got older. For $100 per month she wanted her bang of the buck. She did at the beginning 20 years ago. But gradually they took them away. They told her she did not need them anymore and they were right. It had been 15 years since she had taken any type of drug or supplement. Except for a general anesthetic they gave her when she broke her arm while playing tennis about ten years ago. After that fall they put her on a special fitness regimen. One that incorporated ice cold showers and the virtual reality set up. She hated that at first. The thought of taking ice cold showers gave her a panic attack, especially at her age. But she had no choice. Either that or lose some medical coverage. But it was one of the best decisions that was made for her. Her immune system had shown a 250% improvement. Her mind had become razor sharp.
Proactive Medical Care
Alternative therapy treatments were a big part of the system. Conventional medicine and big Pharm were increasingly becoming a thing of the past. The Robots were able to crowd source information on what worked and what did not work for natural remedies, often getting down to precise dosages while ignoring get well quick schemes.
The new AI robots enabled medical research to be done at a much faster rate. Because Moogle had all the health data of millions of people, the AI robots had a huge pool of data to do real time research. What would previously take years could now be done within a week. But AI was helping to discover disease pandemics buy looking for patterns of health in the population.
The Robots had discovered the huge health benefits of natural food. In fact they had developed an algorithm to recommend what foods to eat and when. Braggs Organic Apple Cider vinegar was on the menu as was Ceylon Cinnamon, Oregano, Basil and a whole range of super foods. Interestingly AI was instrumental in determining how they worked, in what quantity tailored to each person’s weight, height and medical history. That was an unbelievable level of accuracy which previous generations of computers would have taken centuries to discover. Debbie had always believed in natural remedies such as natural cures but the trouble had always been with determining how to use natural cures.
The best part was her Moogle App would recommend what she should eat based on possible future deficiencies, offer menu choices to incorporate it into her diet and videos to show how to cook it. It would plan her meal suggestions based on her likes, days in advance, so she would have time to get the ingredients. While she still preferred to visit the market herself, ordering her shopping online was actually cheaper and more efficient as nothing was wasted. It would even suggest exactly what quantity to order. Incredible but a little stifling at times she felt. She hated the health warnings if she ate too much of something. The phone would ping incessantly to the point she would want to smash it the ground. Funny how humans’ rebel at sensible suggestions. Guess that is what makes humans so interesting she thought.
“So Doctor why did you want see me in person? “she asked hesitantly.
These days there was no reason to visit your Doctor. Everything was monitored at home in real time. So she was worried sick. Were they going to throw me off the plan? Do I have cancer she wondered? It couldn’t be me. She felt fine. All her tests were good. She had reviewed it very carefully.
“ Debbie you are in good health “ Dr. Sacks said with a smile.
“ So what’s the problem? “ she asked.
“ It’s not really a problem. It’s that, even with the best medical tools we have today the body will wear down until it breaks down “
“ Oh? ” she said, her heart skipping a beat.
“ Not to worry. We have an excellent solution”
“ What solution?“
“ Based on your data our system indicates your heart will reach a failure point in about 36 months. But the good news is that we have a new bio synthetic heart system or Crispr Gene Editing Injection system. Both are quite simple “.
Oh my God she thought. It’s finally giving out.
” What is the difference between the two? she asked.
” The bio synthetic heart is quite easy, but you do have to change the battery every 5 years ”
” How about the gene injecting system. How does that work?” she asked
” The Crispr Gene Editing Injection System is very simple. We will analyse your DNA, sequence a new strand to grow the heart parts that need replacing and just give you an injection. In your case we need to rebuild the septum and the heart valves. It will take about 9-12 months before your heart grows the new parts, so you do have to careful improve nutrition. But after that i be would like having a brand new heart ” he replied
” Which one is riskier? ” she asked
” Based on the evidence both are extremely reliable. We prefer gene editing because it is natural and less susceptible to electromagnetic interference. ” Dr. Sacks replied.
” What do you mean by being careful? ”
” Well, it means you can’t drink alcohol and must avoid extremely strenuous exercise. So no sky diving. But you can still dance. I know you love to dance ” he replied with a smile.
” I think I will do the Crispr thing ” she said quickly, although she was scared of this whole DNA editing thing. After the scare with genetically modified food and Monsanto going under with lawsuits she was hesitant. Still this was her life and the thought of an electronic gizmo made her nervous. No matter how advanced the electronics were these days. Gene editing while scary seemed more natural even though it was like messing with God.
“ How much does it cost? “
“ Both cost about $5000, but you don’t have to pay anything ” he replied
“ Oh? Why not? ‘ she asked anxiously.
“ Since you have followed our guidelines with only a 3% deviation over the last 50 years you have a big balance on your health savings account “
“ When do I have do this? “
“ Within next few months. We don’t want to take any chances “
“ Will my premium go up? “
“ No more than the inflation indexed rate “ he replied
“ I am going to Thailand next month. Can I do it after I come back? “
“ Actually, we have a medical facility in Thailand. You could have it done there, enjoy your vacation, get some rest and come back home. It’s cold here now. You might find the sun more fun. We have a beautiful hotel attached to the hospital where you can stay for a discounted rate “
“ I can do that? But I want you do that operation Doctor “
“ Not to worry. I will fly over “
“ Yes of course, you would “ she replied with a smile.
She knew that was a lie. He was a robot. All they would do is put his face and personality on another robot body. Still it was a nice touch. She felt more comfortable. She had a crush on Dr. Sacks. Or my God this is crazy. I am falling for a Robot.
“ Just let me know your travel dates and we can upload a schedule to your phone “ he replied
“ Ok thank you “ she replied.
It was a good visit. Still she was sad. All her childhood friends had passed away. Most of them had not signed up with Moogle calling it an invasion privacy, dictatorial and too strict. But Debbie had made new friends at her Tango club. In fact she was rushing back to a birthday party they had arranged for her. The self-driving car was so convenient and so fast. It got her home within 15 minutes. She quickly had another cold shower and headed to her club. She wore her red heels. The once she had custom ordered from Argentina. Hand crafted the old way. As she opened the door her friends yelled Happy Birthday. In the corner of the room was a birthday cake with real icing and with the words “ Happy 150th Debbie “. She felt loved. Will my emotions change with the DNA modification she wondered? Never mind she thought. Life was good.
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