Every now and then I receive one of "those" articles that I don't even have to read to know that I am going to be blogging about it. When Mr. G.B. found this one, it went straight into that folder:
Now, when Mr. G.B. sent the article to me, he zeroed in on one statement in the article which begins our daily venture out to the end of the twig of high octane speculation. First, what's this new "medical AI" supposed to do? Why, it's supposed to take the load off of doctors and nurses by predicting when someone might expire:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the very first artificial intelligence (AI) computer that monitors a patient’s vitals to help forecast sudden death up to six hours before the grim reaper shows up.
Excel Medical, a medical device data company in Florida, developed the deep learning algorithm called WAVE Clinical Platform for the eradication of unexpected hospital deaths.
WAVE automatically calculates the risk of the patient through subtle changes in vitals, which provides hospital staff with critical information of when the patient is expected to kick the bucket. The algorithm monitors the patient on a continuous basis, a task that is very challenging for hospitals, as the demographic crisis strains the U.S. healthcare system.
Why is this a problem? Because the USSA faces a declining birthrate (which is the subject of another entire high octane speculation), and this means that as the percentage of the population that is elderly grows, Americans' birthrates have declined. I suspect there are a multitude of explanations for this phenomenon - not unique to the USSA but fairly typical of most western countries - but that's a high octane speculation for another day.
The excuse for this is the demand this is placing on doctors and nurses:
Speaking to Digital Trends, ExcelMedical’s Chief Strategy Officer Mary Baum said, “We do not have enough physicians or nurses, and we have an aging population who are sicker and who need more resources and services.”
According to IFL Science,
It has also just become the first AI platform of its kind to be cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This decision was based on a series of studies at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that showed the AI platform could prevent unexpected deaths in hospitals. Another more recent study, using similar technology by Stanford University, outlined on the preprint server arXiv, explains how a deep-learning algorithm can correctly predict an otherwise-unexpected death in 90 percent of cases.
And of course, Zero Hedge is not oblivious to the looming potential problem here:
To sum up, AI’s gift to humanity is the knowledge of when you supposed to die six hours before. As for the baby boomer generation, what would you do in your last six hours? Further, what happens when the technology progresses to 12-hours, and or even days in advance of your death. How will the human psyche process such knowledge?
How long before the same A.I. can predict your sudden death a few years out? ...and decide whether you're worth keeping around?
And how convenient, too, for any "death panels" that might be lurking in the long term plans. Indeed, why even have them at all, when the AI can decide and provide a convenient rationalization for it? After all, if an AI knows in 90% of cases when someone might die in the next six hours, why not help the process along in a self-fulfilling AI prophecy sort of way? In other words, as predictive powers of AI grow, what's to prevent the expiration prediction from becoming a "use and kill by" such and such a date?
In today's "culture" and political climate, very little I would imagine.
But none of this is my problem with it. These are problems, to be sure. But they're not my problem with it. My problem with it is this article which was also spotted this week, and passed along to me by quite a few people:
That's right, a Republithug congressman has introduced a bill for a biometric national ID card, and it comes with its own "rationale":
Earlier this month, Rep. Bob Goodlatte [R-VA-6] introduced H.R.4760 – Securing America’s Future Act of 2018, a sweeping bill that entails everything from Education and the Workforce to Homeland Security to the military. Also, tucked away in this 400-page behemoth of a bill are the details of a new biometric National ID card that could soon be required for everyone.
Not surprisingly, there is almost no media coverage on this legislation.
H.R. 4760 establishes a mandatory National Identification system that requires all Americans to carry a government-approved ID containing “biometric features.” Without this card, according to the legislation, you will not be able to work in this country.
No biometric ID, no workee workee. And that looks to my eyes to be suspiciously close to certain bestial marks warned about in certain millennia-old apocalypses, but I digress. The rationale being offered is, itself, more fascist police state nonsense whose "logic" could be turned on almost any segment of the population, and in a climate where we're talking about artificial intelligences making predictions about someone's expiration date, this looks like a Heinrich Himmler wet dream on steroids. One can imagine all sorts of "selling points" are going to be dreamed up by the Demorats and Republithugs to sell this idea: why, with your DNA and "other biometric features" on file, the government will be able to identify you if, perhaps, you experience "a catastrophic expiration date" and end up as a smear of DNA on the pavement. Won't that be nice? Your family will be able to have "closure." Tucked within this "Marketing Point" is, of course, the idea that the government will be keeping a huge biometric data base of everyone. (No potential for abuse there, since we can always count on the Russians to hack it and blame Mr. Putin for any abuses). Eventually, of course, we know that someone will propose doing away with the card altogether, since "they can be lost or stolen, and we can save money replacing lost and stolen biometric IDs by simply having everyone
tatooed before they enter the camps chipped." We can even imagine that since a Republithug sponsoring the bill, that the "subsequent amendment" will come from a Demorat, making all this nicely and neatly "bi-partisan." And what a perfect way, too, to covertly collateralize the citizenry.
Make no mistake: this is tyranny. It is a "permission to exist" card, nothing more, and nothing less. It needs firm defeat.
See you on the flip side...
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