The Speculist: Robo-Pharmacists


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Pretty much the sort of thing I've been talking about:

Dispensing medicine is about to get more efficient. New Jersey’s Holy Name Hospital is using robot pharmacists to package, store and dispense medications, while an automated system at an Ohio children’s hospital is preparing I.V. drugs for patients. Automation in medicine is reducing human error and cutting costs, and because these robots can handle pills in a fraction of the time it takes humans, we should be noticing a lot more of them around real soon.

Read the whole thing. Automation is the key to addressing the fundamental scarcity of health care that underlies the current (and probably most past and future) debates about whether providing health care should be a primarily public or private concern.

For those who wish for a healthy world, here's a three-step course of treatment:

Step 1: Robot Pharmacists

Step 2: Robot Nurses (Japan is working on this.)

Step 3: Robot Doctors

NOTE: If symptoms persist, double down on robotics and AI research.

No, none of this means replacing human beings currently holding these jobs, although the pharmacists are potentially at risk for this. Automating basic care means freeing humans to do the stuff that they do best and that provides the most value to the patients.


You would think they'd be afraid of lawsuits. What happens when that robot starts handing out Viagra to little kids?

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