This paper explores the future of medicine in the context of modern digital technologies and inventions. Specifically, this paper analyzes Daniel’s Kraft’s presentation at the Maastricht Conference in 2012. In this essay, the researcher’s opinions and suggestions are presented and commented, and also their advantages and disadvantages are explored. Daniel Kraft is speaking about helping people with disabilities with robotic arms and legs, retina eyes. He is focused on digital diagnosing, creating apps for iPhone, visiting doctors via skype, regenerative medicine, robotic surgery, stem cell trials, perspectives of the oncology treatment, etc.
Keywords: digital medicine, iPhone, apps, robotic surgery, stem cells
Daniel Kraft: Medicine's future? There’s an App for That
In his speech at the conference at Maastricht, Daniel Kraft tells the audience about the future perspectives of the medical technologies, patient care and treatment. In order to prove his points of view and suggestions, he widely uses special terms and presentation. It is vividly seen from the reaction of the audience that they are admired by this speech as many points are of the great actuality nowadays.
Daniel Kraft starts his speech from his meeting with some another DNA-specialist which involved him into studying Mitochondrial DNA, Haplotype K1a1b1a. These issues made him inspired with the possibilities of the modern technologies and their influences on the future of medicine that can be developing in the context of cross-disciplinary values and movements. As he met his colleague Harriet online, it made Daniel thinking what computers can do to his subject of study. In his opinion, growing technology makes possible to develop “low-cost gene analysis”, “computational bio-informatics” (Kraft, 2012), and the researches are possible everywhere where there is Internet connection or social networking. New technologies are growing rapidly, and Kraft’s example with growing lilies and spreading on the water is very useful to understand how Internet and gadgets are overwhelming the modern world and the life of humans. Furthermore, robotic mechanisms may also easily substitute missing organs or parts of a body. This is fascinating!
A very important part of Kraft’s speech is his expressing the opinion about the so called “disabilities”. According to Kraft’s viewpoint, in the near future, it would be possible to “change the definition of disability with “SUPERABILITY” (Kraft, 2012). It means that the sooner, the better those who have some disabilities will have super useful robotic arms or legs. Kraft even demonstrates some desirable future magazine covers displaying women with e-legs which are proud to have such devices. And they are regarded as having of such type of beauty. This makes thinking that even people who feel lonely without some parts of a body, or cannot walk or cannot see for some reason, in the nearest future will have the equal opportunities with others. And even more, they will feel like special and even of super abilities. It is no secret that, in some countries, people who cannot walk or talk are feeling depressed and lonely in their small world, and not many of them lead normal sociable life. Kraft suggests for those who cannot see to use some retina displays that will be possible to be invented for eyes. With the help of them, in Kraft’s opinion, it would be possible even to regulate the amount or quality of the consuming food, as of the connection of retina eyes with the brain. It would also be possible to use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth in this context.
Another important part of Kraft’s speech is his attitude to presumable revolution in medical diagnosing. This revolution, in his point of view, is possible by using the most popular and fashionable device all over the world – iPhone4 or in the future maybe up to iPhone8. The apps for this device can change the medicine radically. The researcher gives an example with such popular apps and devices as iBGStar Glucose Meter, FitBit, Zeo Sleep Monitor, etc. integrated with iPhone. It is possible to measure heart-rate or measure steps with the help of such devices. Kraft hopes that in the future more and more people will buy “hundred dollar devices to share state with their physicians” (Kraft, 2012). Doctors would get an opportunity to diagnose patients online, with the help of the modern devices. For example, the most useful of these methods will be skype video conversations (for visible diseases). And other diseases would be possible to diagnose with the help of apps and computer devices. Even robotic surgery can help to provide the most difficult operations. The most vivid example of such a diagnosing is illustrated by Kraft by a flashcard that is connected to the finger, and then can transfer information to the USB-port of any computer or lap-top. Kraft gives an astonishing example that makes the audience laughing. He says: “Some day you will be looking in the mirror, and I will be diagnosing you” (Kraft, 2012).
Advantages and Disadvantages
Every new suggestion causes admiration or doubts. As for me, I was inspired with Kraft’s ideas, especially in the field of easy diagnosing and significant efficiency of these methods. Digital technologies in medicine are of many advantages such as:
- It is cheap in use.
- It is easily accessible.
- It is useful in clinical practice.
- It will work well in any country where there are devices and internet connection.
- It will be possible to connect and ask advice online, no matter where in the world doctor lives.
- Medical records will easily go electronic.
There are also some disadvantages of implementation the new technologies:
- They need to be validated by many experiments.
- Much of efforts and finance are required for clinical trials.
- Some trials like 3D printing of organs or regenerative medicine and stem cell trails are or will be banned in some countries by law.
When judging about advantages and disadvantages of digital medicine, it is possible to conclude that pros are more. Kraft’s suggestions about diagnosing, clinical trials and new inventions in the context of the modern age seem to be of much use. His speech ends with a good and much inspiring phrase that he wishes “to be out of a job” (Kraft, 2012) due to digitalizing of medicine.
Kraft, D. (2012). Daniel Kraft: Medicine's future? There's an app for that. TED.com.
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