Miniature drones dance around a trauma surgeon, wiping up blood, monitoring vital signs, and administering the correct dose of anaesthesia - all while carefully avoiding her thimble-like surgical controls. The surgeon and her patient carefully toe the line between life and death - her tools optimized for a specialty where every wasted second could have drastic ramifications.
This surgeon is me and these drones are just the pinnacle of 20XX’s “modern” medical technology.
We are privileged to live in an era where technological automation and assistance is commonplace. However, we have barely uncovered the sheer and revolutionary power of technology in our lives.
For instance, robot-assisted surgery (such as the DaVinci surgical system) allows doctors to conduct minimally invasive surgeries which reduces pain and post-surgical complications. Based on the steadily-growing interest in electromagnetism and multi-modal microrobotics, we can predict that smaller and stronger servos, control chips, and semiconductors will be available to the general market in the near future.
This enables surgical tools to decrease in size and to become modular, much like chain-mail. This further enhances surgeons’ dexterity by decreasing friction, thereby decreasing incision size and allowing for faster recovery. Therefore, a number of “hidden expenses” such as room, food, and bandage costs can be greatly reduced. This means that families would not have to bear the onus of exorbitant hospital bills and instead, can focus on supporting their children through higher education.
Furthermore, improvements in medical technology can lead to a “greener” future. Currently, many disposable medical instruments, such as drapes, gauze, surgical staplers, sutures, ties, and gloves, account for over billions of pounds of solid waste. Furthermore, over 90% of this waste is latex and plastic, which can increase the pH of water promoting eutrophication and thermal emissions, which can contribute to global warming. Lower recovery times and smaller incisions require less of these non-renewable and harmful resources, providing local flora and fauna a safe habitat.
On another front, drone medical technology which relies on advanced AI pathfinding, machine-learning powered computer vision, optimized batteries, as well as advanced gyroscopes and stabilizers will eliminate the need for EMS to rush in ambulances. This ensures a greater survival rate for the injured as drones do not need to combat traffic and road blocks. Furthermore, this reduces the liability for drivers and emergency workers by preventing potentially fatal road collisions. Finally, drones, coupled with improved wearable technology, enables patients to receive immediate medical care based on live-time vital sign patterns ensuring a quicker and effective response.
I love to learn about the human body, but my passion is to breach the stars. In my career, I see myself performing surgeries on the beautiful crimson land of Mars, wearing nothing more than a simple face-mask. From Nasa’s Bumper V-2 to SpaceX’s reusable Dragon, space travel has come a long way since we first dreamed of orbiting the moon. In the future, I believe that rocket boosters, navigation systems, and solar panels will increase in efficiency. This means that space travel will become affordable to families of all backgrounds and will allow humans to distribute our population among multiple planets. This may lead to a decrease in global warming and may prevent the extinction of animals due to housing deforestation.
The collaboration between the fields of microtechnology and fashion design could bring about monumental changes to spacesuits, eventually reducing them to a thin, thermally-protective bodysuit. Developments in 3D design and modeling technology, as well as the prospect of 3D-printed clothing. Furthermore, nanobot brain implants, subcutaneous vitamin-dispensers, or even water-synthesizers can help astronauts cut down on tons of food and sustenance. While it seems like these ideas have been taken out of a science-fiction book, the growth of bio-compatible sensors, microchip radios, and artificial intelligence can help to make them a reality.
As a future trauma surgeon, I see myself treating fewer victims of car-crashes and unstable buildings. Improvements in magnetic-levitation technology can enable cars and motorcycles to hover or gently glide over roads. This decreases fatalities of all ages due to skidding in the winter times, uneven roads, and potholes. Furthermore, magnetic levitation coupled with AI driving technology and car detection systems can allow a vehicle to rapidly slow down from high speeds, preventing a potential crash. This technology also allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel, decreasing human misjudgement, drunk driving, and bridging the gap between left-hand/right-hand driving.
In addition, future technology can help to detect unstable buildings or reinforce substructures using nanotechnology. When linked together, nanorobots may be able to create impressively-large structures. These structures can mold around deteriorating buildings, especially following natural disasters, and provide people trapped inside with more time to escape.
On the other hand, advancements in 3-D printing technology can allow governments to “print” houses using sustainable materials and plastic/ceramic waste. While systems like these are already in place today, they are incredibly slow, time consuming, and costly. Future technology may allow for these houses to be modelled by AI, a typical 3-D modelling system, reducing operational costs. Furthermore, a single plan can be used to create hundreds of tiny houses for homeless citizens to live in. This can improve their lifestyle drastically by providing them with a shelter against the elements, a clean disease-free environment, and basic utilities.
However, I believe that these improvements will also lead to social and economic unrest. AI, machine learning, and efficient “production robots” may take away from blue-collar and service jobs. While extreme poverty and world hunger may decrease in the long-term, economic disparity may surge in the short-term, making it increasingly harder for the average person to support their families.
Furthermore, the rapid expansion of genome-editing and cloning technology brings up ethical concerns. While this may decrease the occurrence of genetic diseases such as type 1 diabetes or carcinogenic mutations, the ability to edit our DNA could be abused. This brings up the questions: Should people be allowed to make designer babies? Is it ethical for parents to choose which characteristics their children have?
I currently have the same hope that I know my future self will have - humanity will learn to embrace technology while continuing to preserve our traditions, cultures, habits. There will certainly have to be laws passed to limit the negative effects of technology. However, I see my peers and the world around me continue to embrace the unique flair and niche of every single person.
I see a hopeful surgeon and space-explorer, along with all of her drones and advanced technology looking back at me.