Cardiac defibrillators the size of a grain of salt. Robotic, flying bedpans. The extinction of the doctor. Spend some time on Twitter and you may see the future. Because there’s an arms race to ‘break’ the next seemingly implausible health innovation. And it all seems bigger since the social web draws the technologically savvy who are prone toward technological determinism (that’s the mindset that says, ‘this is inevitable and to resist is futile‘).
This trend to casually predict an effortless medical future is evolving as a type of cyberutopian exhibitionism. Typically the more outrageous and almost implausible the development, the more likely it is to be delivered in the most knowing, matter-of-fact way.
We may be creeping into Silicon Valley’s ‘culture of limitlessness.’ As Jaron Lanier suggests in Who Owns the Future, “The feeling of being a techie on the verge of escaping limits is ecstatic, manic, and irresistible.”
I’m frequently on the verge of escaping limits. I’m preoccupied with medicine’s weird leading edge. I’m as deterministic as the next guy and I see medicine as being in the midst of its most extreme transition. And I try to understand where things are headed. But I feel uncomfortable with the some of the showcase link bait that does as much to draw attention to ourselves as the emerging developments that will realistically change lives in the near future.
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